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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    January 16, 2013
    8:00 - 1:00am EST  

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if anyone's interested it. but you will see jack and me continue to engage on this revenue issue. this is the underpinning of everything else. so state tuned and thank you again. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> the house democratic steering and policy committee hold a meeting to discuss ways to prevent gun violence. later, bob goodlatte talks about his opposition to new gun laws. >> president obama launched his effort to reduce gun violence
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wednesday, calling for action and don't congress and signed in 23 consecutive quarters to deal with the issue. speaking before an audience that included the families of those killed in last month's newtown shooting, the president called for an assault weapons ban, better background checks, and more funding for police and mental health services. this is 25 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the
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president and vice-president of the united states. >> please, please be seated. thank you. before -- before i begin today, let me say to the families of the innocence that died, our hearts go out to you and you incredible courage being here and the president and i will do everything in our power to honor the memory of your children and your wives with the work we take up here today. it's been 33 days since the nation's heart was broken by the horrific, senseless violence that took place at sandy hook elementary school. 20 -- 20 beautiful first graders gunned down in a place that's supposed to be their second sanctuary. six -- six members of the staff killed trying to save those children.
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it's literally been hard for the nation to comprehend, hard for the nation to fathom. and i know for the families who are here, time is not measured in days but it's measured in minutes, in seconds since you received that news. another minute without your daughter, another minute without your son, another minute without your wife, another minute without your mom. i want to personally thank chris and lynn mcdonald who lost a beautiful daughter, grace, and the other parents who i had a chance to speak to, for their suggestions and for, again, just for their -- the courage of all of you to be here today. i admire -- i admire the grace and the resolve that you all are showing.
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i must say i have been deeply affected by your faith as well. and the president and i are going to do everything we can to try to match the resolve you've demonstrated. no one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented, but we all know we have a moral obligation, a moral obligation to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect of something like this ever happening again. as the president knows, i've worked in this field a long time in the united states senate having chaired a committee that had jurisdiction over these issues of guns and crime and having drafted the first gun violence legislation -- the last gun violence legislation, i should say. and i have no illusions what we're up against or how hard the task is in front of us. but i also have never seen a nation's conscience so shaken by what happened in sandy hook. the world has changed and it's
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demanding action. it's in this context that the president asked me to put together along with cabinet members a set of recommendations of how we should proceed to meet that moral obligation we have. toward that end the cabinet members and i sat down with 229 groups -- not just individuals representing groups, 229 groups, from law enforcement agencies to public health officials to gun officials to gun advocacy groups to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders. and i've spoken with members of congress on both sides of the aisle, had an extensive conversation with mayors and governors and county officials. and the recommendations we provided to the president on monday called for executive actions he could sign, legislation he could call for and long-term research that should be undertaken. they're based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups we spoke, including some of you who are victims of this god you awful occurrence.
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ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands as well as to take comprehensive action to prevent violence in the first place. we should do as much as we can as quickly as we can and we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. so some of what you'll hear from the president will happen immediately. some will take some time, but we have begun and we are starting here today. we are resolved to continue this fight. during the meetings in a we held, we met with a young man who is here today, i think colin is here. where are you, colin? colin was one of the survivors of the virginia tech massacre. he was in the classroom. he calls himself one of the lucky seven, and he'll tell you, he was shot four times on that day and he has three bullets that is still inside him. and when i asked colin about what he thought we should be doing, he said that he said, i'm not here because of what happened to me. i'm here because of what
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happened to me keeps happening to other people and we have to do something about it. colin, we will. colin, i promise you we will. this is our intention. we must do what we can now and there's no person who is more committed to acting on this moral obligation we have than the president of the united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, president barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. thank you, everybody. please have a seat. good afternoon, everybody. let me begin by thanking our vice president, joe biden, for your dedication, joe, to this issue, for bringing so many different voices to the table, because while reducing gun
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violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one. over the month since the tragedy in newtown, we've heard from so many, and obviously none have affected us more than the families of those gorgeous children and their teachers and guardians who were lost, and so we're grateful for all of you taking the time to be here and recognizing that we honor their memories in part by doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again. we also heard from unexpected people. in particular, i started getting a lot of letters from kids. four of them are here today. graham, julia, kenny and taja.
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they're pretty represented of some of the messages that i got. these are some pretty smart letters from some pretty smart young people. henna, a third grader. you can go ahead and wave, henna. that's you. henna wrote, i feel terrible for the parents who lost their children. i love my country, and i want everybody to be happy and safe. and then grant -- go ahead and wave, grant. grant said, i think there should be some changes. we should learn from what happened at sandy hook. i feel really bad. and then julia said -- julia, where are you? there you go. i'm not scared for my safety. i'm scared for others. i have four brothers and sisters, and i know i would not be able to bear the thought of
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losing any of them. and these are our kids. this is what they're thinking about. and so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them and shield them from harm and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything that they're capable of doing, not just to pursue their own dreams, but to help build this country. this is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. this is how we will be judged, and their voices should compel us to change.
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that is why last month, i asked joe to lead an effort along with members of my cabinet to come up with some concrete steps we can take right now to keep our children safe, to help prevent mass shootings, to reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. we cannot put this off any longer. just last thursday as tv networks were covering one of joe's meetings, on this topic, news broke of another school shooting, this one in california. in the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were finally taken from assets and the elementary, more than -- were violently taken from us, more than 900 of our fellow americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun. 900 -- in the past month. and every day we wait that number will keep growing. i am putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the
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work of joe's task force. in the days ahead, i intend to use whatever way to this office holds to make them a reality. because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. i will do my part. as soon as i and finished speaking here, i will sit at that desk and signed a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
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we will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system. we will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans. we will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence even as we know is that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator. while year after year, those who oppose even modest gun safety measures have threatened to defunds scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, will direct the centers for disease control to go ahead and study the best way to reduce it. congress should fund research into the fact that violent video gains have on young minds. we don't benefit from ignorance. we don't benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.
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these are a few of the 23 executive actions i am announcing today but as important as the steps are, they are in no way a substitute for action from members of congress. to make a real and lasting difference, congress must act. congress must act soon. i am calling on congress to pass some very specific proposals right away. first, it is time for congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. [applause] the law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks and over the last 14 years, that has kept 1.5 million of the wrong people
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for getting their hands on a gun but it is hard to enforce that law when as many as 40% of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check. that is not safe. that is not smart. is not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. if you want to buy a gun, whether it is from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one. this is common sense. an overwhelming majority of americans agree with us on the need for universal background checks including more than 70% of the national rifle association's members, according to one survey. dore's no reason we cannot this. second it -- congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines. [applause]
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that type of assault rifle used in core of, when paired with high-capacity magazines has one purpose -- to pump out as many bullets as possible as quickly as possible, to do as much damage using bullets often designed to inflict maximum damage. that is what allowed the gunmen in aurora to shoot 70 people -- 70 people -- killing 12 -- in a matter of minutes. weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater. a majority of americans agree with us on this. by the way, so did ronald reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment who wrote to congress in 1994 urging them "- this is ronald reagan speaking -- urging them to listen to the american public and to the law-
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enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons. [applause] finally, congress needs to help rather than endure what enforcement as it does its job. -- rather than hinder enforcement as it does its job. we should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this. since congress has not confirmed the director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms in six years, they should confirm todd jones who has been acting and i will be nominating for the post. [applause] at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce their police force, we
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should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets. let me be absolutely clear -- like most americans, i believe the second amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. i respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen. are millions of responsible law- abiding gun owners in america who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting or sport or protection or collection. i also believe most gun owners agreed that we can respect the second amendment while keeping and irresponsible lawbreaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. i believe most of them agree that if america work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in new town.
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that is what these reforms are designed to do. they are common-sense measures. they have the support of the majority of the american people. and yet doesn't -- and yet that does not mean this will be easy to enact or employment. if it were, we would already have universal background checks. the ban on assault weapons would have never been allowed to expire. more of our fellow americans might still be alive celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduations. this will be difficult. there will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists public warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty. not because that is true but because they want to jack up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves.
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behind the scenes, they will do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever. the only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says this time must be different. this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids. i will put everything i've got into this and so well joe but, i tell you, the only way we can change is if the american people demand it. by the way, that does not just mean from certain parts of the country. we will need voices in those areas and those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and to say this is important.
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it cannot be just the usual suspects. we have to examine ourselves and our hearts and ask ourselves what is important. this will not happen unless the american people demand it. if parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if americans of every background stand up and say enough! we have suffered too much pain and have cared too much about our children to allow this to continue -- then change will come. that is what it will take. in the letter that julia wrote me, she said "i know that laws have to be passed by congress but i beg you to try very hard"" [laughter]
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julia, i will try very hard. she is right. the most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. they need to bring these proposals up for a boat and the american people need to make sure that they do. get them on record. ask your member of congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. ask them if they support redoing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high- capacity magazines. if they say no, ask them why not. ask them what is more important -- doing whatever it takes to get an a great from the gun lobby that funds our campaign targeting parents some peace of mind when they dropped a child off for first grade. [applause]
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this is the land of the free and it always will be. as americans, we are endowed by our creator to certain inalienable rights that no man our government can take away from us. we have also long recognized, as our founders recognized, that with rights, responsibilities. along with our freedom to live our lives as we will, comes an obligation for others to do the same. we don't live in isolation. we live in a society. a government by and for end of the people. we are responsible for each other. the right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to sikhs, in oak creek, wisconsin. the right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied
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shoppers in oregon and moviegoers in aurora, colorado. the most fundamental set of rights to life and liberty and pursuit of happiness, fundamental rights that were denied to college students at virginia tech and high-school students at columbine and elementary school students in newtown and kids on street corners in chicago on too frequent basis to tolerate. all of families who have never imagined that they would lose a loved one to a bullet -- those rights are at stake. we are responsible. when i visited new town last month, i spent some private time with many families who lost children that day. one was the family of grace mcdonnell.
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her parents are here. grace was 7 years old was she was struck down. just a gorgeous, caring, joyful little girl. i am told she loved pink, she loved the beach, she dreamed of becoming a painter. just before i left chris, her father, gave me one of her paintings. i hung it in my private study just off the oval office. every time i look at that painting, i think about grace. i think about the life she lived to end the life that lay ahead -- and the life that laid ahead of her and most of all, i think about how when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now.
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for grace. for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give. for the men and women in big cities and small towns of fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. for all the americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm. let's do the right thing. let's do the right thing for them and for this country that we love so much. thank you. i'm going to sign these orders. [applause]
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[applause] [applause] >> in president obama's
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proposals, he calls for background checks on all gun buyers, a ban on high-capacity magazines and federal funds for police officers a couple schools. these require congressional approval. he also used his presidential authority to enact 23 measures that do not require the backing of lawmakers. the second actions include ordering federal agencies to make data available for background checks, the atf, and directing the centers for disease control to research gun violence. after president obama announced his new legislation and executive orders, philadelphia mayor michael nutter and family members of gun violence victims spoke to reporters. this is 20 minutes.
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>> good afternoon, everyone. i am michael nutter, mayor of philadelphia. i serve presently as the president of the u.s. conference of mayors. i am pleased to be joined by an incredible group of americans, many of whom you will hear from. after me, police commissioner kelly from new york will be speaking. we have advocates from a variety of gun safety organizations and most importantly, family members of the victim's of senseless violence in their locales. let me start by saying that on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors and a million and a half people in the philadelphia, i commend president barack obama and vice president biden for the bold vision they have laid out , a comprehensive plan to
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ensure the safety of all americans, but today are in towns like newtown her or philadelphia or new york or los angeles or anywhere else in the united states cajon -- states, we need to get behind his plan to ensure that universal background checks are made for every gun purchase here in the united states. that there is a need for an assault weapons ban. ofwell as in the magazine's no more than 10 rounds. obviously there is a great need to support funding for mental health services, not cuts. as well as the president laid out putting more officers on the streets of our cities all across america. these are common sense ideas, these are reforms that need to take place. the combination of legislative
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action by congress as well as the president signing the numerous executive orders today demonstrates his commitment to getting things done now. i call on the congress to take up that same sense of urgency on behalf of the american people and especially the safety and security of our children, our most precious resources in this great country. with that, commissioner kelly. >> taking a year. i represent mayor bloomberg along with the criminal justice coordinator of new york city. mayor nutter echoed what the president said. it is common sense. common-sense proposals. the vice president said this is an effort to diminish the possibility. we know we will not eliminate all gun violence, but it
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diminishes the possibility of having another newtown. mayor bloomberg, who is been a major force in this effort, i know is pleased with this proposal. he urges congress to get on board quickly. the president said it is going to be a struggle but i believe all the major law enforcement organizations will support the administration in this effort. this is a good day. we also liked the fact that the president mentioned the possibility of more police officers. many departments throughout the country have been significantly reduced as a result of the financial crisis. so we are hopeful that there is legislation that will significantly help us in manning our posts and staffing our police departments throughout the country. thank you. >> good afternoon.
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i am the first elected of newtown, the scene of the most horrific event that took place at sandy hook elementary school in which we lost 26 children and staff members. i am here to show support for those initiatives late out today by vice president biden and president obama. both of those members said our world has changed because of what happened at sandy hook. par contest as has been raised. we have the obligation to address. if that is so, change will take place. i would hate to find myself a year from now reading about another of that -- another event. i truly believe the will of the people make a difference. i am calling on everyone to have
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the courage to stand up and help us make that difference. we should never again visit a tragedy such as we had in newtown. i call on everyone of you as mothers and fathers and members of a reasonable society to know it is time for us to make a change. please do everything you can to support common sense policies. we need to know that we are the answer to this problem. thank you. >> hi, i'm president of the brady campaign. i come to the issue of gun violence for personal experience. my younger brother was shot on the conservation deck of the empire state building in 1997. we stand here with all this great leaders earlier today it as well as with the other folks you were here from shortly who will have their own personal stories to share. today is a momentous day.
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it is just the beginning. now is up to us. our message to the american public. you heard it today from president, saying that for a change to happen on this issue, the american public will need to make its voice heard. that is the role that we at the brady campaign intends to help play, along with the other great organizations out there convening the voice of the american public. our message would be to every american out there, gun owners, nra members, mothers, fathers, human beings first. we invite you to join those of us like the brady campaign who are committed to making your voice is heard in washington, d.c. the only place where this issue is a heated partisan political debate is in the halls of congress.
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there is an extraordinary disconnect between what the american public wants, including gun owners and n.r.a. members, and what our elected officials are doing about it. it is up to us to close that disconnect. we invite you to join us to make your voice is heard. without that, we are not going to get the change that the task force and the president and vice president were talking about today. they have done their job. they have shown a export their leadership, convening a conversation that led to a consensus and they said the solutions that will not only prevent tragedies like sandy hook but prevent the 10,000 murders that happened every year in our country, the 30,000 gun deaths that happen every year. now it is up to us to join them to make these changes in reality. a momentous day to day. just the beginning. now it is up to us. i would like to invite -- i
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don't know if there is further protocol here. >> i am from chicago. i lost my only child may 10, 2007, on a public transit bus coming home from school where five teenagers were shot. i an not just here for him but for the thousands of young people that have been murdered in chicago. i represent their voices and their faces. those are the stories you do not hear about. these are good children, going to school, doing all the right things at the right time to read people need to know that this happens every day in a big cities. we lose talented individuals every day to gun violence. i am honored the president have the courage to stand up today and say something and do something. this day has been coming since may 5 of 2007 and i am grateful we are here. we need the american public to speak up about this issue and speak to legislators to change their minds and hearts.
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you too can be me. you can lose your only child and i would never want that to happen to you. >> hello. i'm sandy phillips. my daughter jessica was killed in aurora. today has been surreal for me. since her death, we have seen so many other shootings and have lost so many other people. take every to single one of you to please take action. one out of three americans are touched by gun violence carried my daughter was touched twice. six weeks before she died, she was in the mall shooting in toronto. i told her at that time austan that she would never again see such a run this occurrence -- that time falsely that she would
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never again see such an occurrence in six weeks later, she was dead. if you think you will never be touched by gun violence, you are fooling yourself. we are prepared to fight this battle to the very end. we ask the american public to please join us, middle america to stand up and be counted. this is the first time that our politicians are caring and listening to us. please do what you need to do enjoy us. thank you. >> my name is greater thangoddard. i was shot four times -- colin goddard. i was shot four times at virginia tech. i was one of seven survivors. i chose to do this because i kept seeing the same thing happened to other people.
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i really want to commend the president for stepping up and showing a much-needed leadership we needed to have a conversation, to have the changes we need in this country so that. he knows we are better than this. now it is our job to make our elected officials show us they know it too. thank you. >> let's add, any of us who might be able to answer your questions, we will be glad to take questions. i want to thank all of the speakers and those assembled. these are serious americans who have been touched in one way shape or form. some of us have the responsibility to ensure that our citizens are safe in our cities all across the country. i want to say that president barack obama has shown great leadership, put out bold ideas. it is time for congress to act
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boldly as well. and are glad to take any questions. >> the republicans on capitol hill are saying the oppose this agenda. senator rubio says nothing the president has proposed would have stopped the massacre at sandy hook and the agenda is to take away second amendment rights. how you respond to that and what you think about the political challenges ahead? >> the senator is just wrong. no one is talking bout, including president obama, taking anyone's second amendment rights away. if he had listened to the president's speech, he would know that. there have been no actions by the president that give any validity to that. if the gentleman just want to be opposed for the sake of being opposed and ignore the facts, i generally do not argue with people in gate into that kind of irresponsible behavior.
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-- who engage in that kind of irresponsible behavior. >> there are people out there tried to take a serious look at helping politicians find ways to curb gun violence. one of those people as the former baltimore city mayor. he is looking at the atf, saying they have not demonstrated an ability to control the flow of fire arms in our society. do you think they need to be eliminated or reduced? >> i think what the atf needs is a permanent executive director, as the president mentioned. congress for whatever reason has not confirmed it director of the atfb in 6 years. while the same time, the n.r.a. three members of congress, have saw to de-fund or emasculate the atfb by restricting their
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operations in such ways as to prevent them from doing their dog. so you cannot underfund and anger and a patient and then complain they are not doing their work -- an organization and then complain they are not doing their job. the issue of atfb is one of funding and leadership and a in those areas, congress cares an enormous amount of this possibility and blame. >> he says it has been around for 75 years with a $1 billion budget and they have does not done the work. >> again, i would have to either see what the mayor has said or have a conversation to better understand his point of view. i think we all agree that any of us in government can do a better job at any point in time. all of us have an obligation to do all that we can. goodne life is saved, it's
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work. it is the right things to do. let's do the right thing. >> it will be tough votes for a lot of conservative democrats. why should they put themselves on the line to vote for something like this one there is no evidence the house republicans will move for -- forward. >> i was not in charge of the invite list so i do not know who was in the room and who did not come. it is a free country. i am sure folks were invited. they have the opportunity to do so. i have been in public life for some time garrett there is no better action than a public severed -- serve and then doing right. if you do your job well and serve your constituents, that should be enough.
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let me finish my answer. saving people's lives, or trying to save people's lives, taking actions that in reality you will never know the life that he saved. cannot document that one. but if you do what is right, what is sensible, reasonable, rational regulations put in place to help insure that those who should not have weapons tonight get them. no one has ever been able to explain why a civilian needs a military-style weapons, etc. those members will have to deal with their own conscience and constituents. god forbid they should ever be one of the three people in america that done by this touches, they will have a slightly different perspective. >> the last time congressional democrats took a vote on gun violence, scores of them were voted out of office. >> that was not the only thing going on in 1994.
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this idea that , somehow that, i did not know about you but i had been in the office -- the idea that somehow one vote, i do not know about you but i have been in the office. stand up and do what's right and then let the chips fall where they may. that is the essence of public service. >> part of this comes from the standpoint of the elected officials and a year nutter expressed -- and mayor nutter expressed our perspective. this is going to be an issue where the american people are going to meet to lead. we need to provide the support that shows them it is safe to do the right thing. they know the right thing to do
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at that the most of these cases where you are hearing vocal opposition. we need to demonstrate that it is safe to do the right thing, to support something like universal background checks, that 92% of the american public supports. that includes their constituency. at the same time, we need to hold accountable the elected officials that do not act in our best interest on our behalf. the combination of the bold, moral leadership that mayor nutter described in the voice of the american public in terms of supporting the leaders that do the right thing and holding the ones that do not accountable is going to be the combination that will make the proposal you heard today succeed. >> have you heard from many republicans supporting the proposal? >> i thing the president spoke about an hour ago. i cannot know that any bill has been introduced in the congress.
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he signed a series of executive orders. why don't we let it live for a little bit. and get into the business of introducing legislation. then allow the legislators to do their job, which is to vote. that is what they do for a living. this is not business for the faint of heart. if you do not like making -- do not like making tough decisions, you should do another job. >> what is the next step for this campaign > ? >> i generally do not give the president advice about what he should be doing on a daily basis but what i expect he will be doing is talking about this, these issues. the president said he was going to do everything he possibly can to make sure that this initiative moves forward. in reference my earlier response, there will need to be
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legislation. we need to see the executive orders. all of us here and millions of americans across the country will also need to be advocates. the president has already stated very clearly, he is not going to be able to do this by himself. anyone with any sense would know that. this is an american issue. we have a violence problem in this country. that is the issue that needs to be addressed. it will be an all out effort. the president has to focus on of course sequestration and budgets and a billion other things i do not know anything about. so it will be a long, hard fight. it is a fight worth >> greater than greater than -- it is a fight worthy fighting. >> i think putting a corporate
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information into the system data base will make a difference. we know that it does ben woefully lacking -- it has been woefully lacking information. just that alone will make a ma jor difference. >> last question. >> the president talked about it being up to the people. what do you do moving forward in your own? own own community? >> communicating back home in philadelphia what the president has laid out. yesterday i talked about a set of principles, the sandy hook principles we will be following in philadelphia relating to
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trying to change and influence corporate behavior and business practices. gun manufacturers, and to peters, retailers. this will be a topic of conversation at the u.s. conference of mayors meeting which starts tomorrow. mayors from all across the united states kabul be joining the efforts to move forward with regard -- will be joining the efforts to move forward. the american people, their constituents. this is a country where people do get to exercise their voice. for those who are post, that door swings both ways. -- who are opposed, that door swings both ways. i will make sure my citizens have as much information as possible, are communicating on a regular basis. thank you, everybody. >> following president obama's
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announcement, the n.r.a. with the statement on the new proposals. it says in part -- the statement continues, attacking fire arms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy the n.r.a. also released an ad referencing the president's children. cli [] >> are the president's kids more than yours? he is just another elite its
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hypocrite when it comes to a fair share security. protection for their kids and gun free zones for hours -- for ours. >> the conversation on reducing gun violence will continue on washington journal tomorrow morning. we are asking gun owners to call in during the first hour, on president obama's proposal. then a roundtable on possible new gun laws with the executive director of gun owners of america. later, more calls from teachers, parents, students. are they in favor of a police presence in schools? washington john alive every morning at 7:00 on c-span -- ,ashington jounr -- journal,. live every morning at 7:00 on c- span.
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she was part of a panel testifying before the house democratic policy and steering committee. other speakers include philadelphia mayor michael nutter, who called on the n.r.a. to remove its recent ad. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you all very much for joining us on this very solemn and important occasion for the american people. over one month ago, our nation was shocked and horrified by the news of the shooting at sandy hook. 20 children, six teachers and educators were taken from us. at us an act of senseless and incomprehensible violence struck at the heart of our families,
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our schools, our communities across the country. earlier this month, shortly after newtown, all members of congress took an oath to protect and defend the constitution and the american people. to protect and defend. that is our first responsibility. today, leaders of the house democratic caucus, have come together to fulfill that duty, to confront the challenge of gun violence in our society, to enact and insure the safety and security of our community. under the leadership of congress and thompson -- congressman thompson, our task force keeps growing in number. our colleagues are submitting recommendations for legislation. the task force is working with outside organizations sharing
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the latest information on gun violence and steps we can take to end it. strength the efforts of this task force and our democratic caucus, we will hear from americans with personal and professional experiences with gun violence. with critical expertise on how and what we must protect it. it is an emotional occasion for many here. we thank them for sharing their grief, to help others be safe. to sharing their experience and help us on our our oath of office. our witnesses come from every walk of life -- education, law, public service. we are extraordinarily grateful to have discussed dr. janet robinson, superintendent of schools of newtown, connecticut. dr. emily nottingham, mother of gabe zimmerman, a victim in
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tucson. scott knight, from minnesota to give us a deal from middle america. and mayor michael nutter who is been a leader on this issue for a long time. your voices and contributions play critical roles until our effort to take these long overdue actions. we look forward to hearing your ideas and testimony and answering the call to action on gun violence prevention. we especially are pleased to be doing so on the day when our president, as we continue to mourn with the families of newtown, has told us the time for action is now. we must do everything in our power to stop such terrifying violence in the future. we recognize the challenges are not new and as president obama
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said so eloquently, in the days following the shooting, we cannot tolerate this any more. the tragedy's must end and to end them, we must change, he said. today the president put his proposals on the table. he outlined 23 executive actions this administration is taking right now. he demanded action from congress on establishing universal background check system, restoring the ban on assault weapons, banning high capacity as old magazines, putting more police officers on our street. we must address issues of mental health in keep weapons out of the hands of those in danger of doing harm to themselves or others. these proposals rectum -- represents steps we can take . we agree we cannot permit any
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more time to go by without action. we all is to the families and victims of newtown, aurora, tucson, virginia tech, columbine, the list goes on. to turn the meeting over to co-chairs of our committee, congresswoman delauro and rob andrews. and the chair of the judiciary committee, john conyers, a dark and violence prevention task force, congressman mike thompson. i will yield to steny for a moment. you, madame leader. for scheduling this timely
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hearing. i look forward to hearing from the witnesses. all of us, as the president indicated today, we all feel the urgency of responding with the status of our mental health folks who should not have guns and who is getting weapons of great danger to our community. i appreciate the witnesses, i welcome them. it is obviously an extraordinary timely hearing. thank you very much for being here and thank you madame
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leader. >> thank you very much. it's a privilege for me to welcome all of you and i want to say a thank you for the leader for calling this hearing. i'm pleased to join my other colleagues here today. i want to say a thank you to the distinguished panel for joining us today. let me just for a moment i want to personally thank and acknowledge all of you but i want to welcome the superintendent of newtown. i know that janet has been working with family, students, teachers, first responders, and an unbelievable organization in new haven on ways to help people work through this tragedy with their students.
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i look forward to hearing more about this in the testimony. last month at sandy hook, a place where children should be safe to learn and to grow, the actions of a young man devastated a small town community. six adults and 20 innocent children were murdered in cold blood. we have seep similar acts of terror in aurora and okay land and tucson, all across the country. we see the loss of life every day from gun violence all across this nation. after the unthinkable tragedy in newtown, president obama spoke to the country and he asked us are we doing enough to protect our children? the answer he admitted is no. that must change. that is why we are here today. today's hearing we will hear from people who deal with the effects of gun violence every day. the wide range of experience
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will facilitate a discussion on common sense and constructive steps we must take to ensure these tragedies will never happen again. i've a letter from the teachers of newtown whichly enter into the record. i will share with you one sentence it reed, in our schools we ensure the schools have the right balance to ensure they are safe. we have to make sure schools do not become for tresses. we have to find and maintain this balance between safety and learning. as we move forward during this difficult time collaboration, communes case and experience of all of members of our community, teachers, law enforcement, the eaffected families will work to make our schools safer, stronger, and more united. that's why we're here today to prevent another sandy hook.
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we all have to work together to end gun violence. i hope we can continue that conversation today and make our children safer. thank you. >> i would like to thank our leader and co-chair for this honor. we come to this room today from different places and many different backgrounds. the last few months we have seen too many of our fellow countrymen gunned down in the streets. i represent camden, new jersey. a city of 80,000 have had 70 homicides this year. we see our neighbors die in shopping malls, movie theaters, college campuses and horror riffically 31 days ago an elementary school. we are bonded together by one common conviction and that is our belief that is not inevitable. we can make choices to stop this
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from happening again. we believe that consistent with good medical practice, we can improve our mental health system so those who are tortured can get help. we believe that consist went good laurm -- law enforcement practices we can make our campuses and schools safe in a responsible way. and yes, we believe consist wept the second amendment to the constitution of the united states and consistent with the common sense of the american people, we can pass a law that makes it so that no one can own a gun that can fire 30 bullets in 30 seconds. no one who is already proven they are a risk to society will have the opportunity to buy any gun at all. we look forward to the perspective of the witnesses on these pressing questions. i thank our colleagues and now we're going to hear from the ranking member mr. conyers.
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>> thank you so much. it's important that we recognize that the president of the united states, the vice president of the united states, our leader nancy pelosi here in the congress, and all of the members here are committed to deal for the very first time this horrible gun violence that is going on. and be able to deal with in the a meaningful way. i thank all of the witnesses for being here. i join with all my colleagues in the very importance of this matter. we have at least five members of
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the house judiciary committee here. i want to close with this one point that has now become important. that is addressing the mental health crisis in our country. in which so many people suffer from some form of a mental problem. so i applaud you for being here and i look forward to this very important call to action. >> thank you. i would like to introduce the chair of the task force in the house of representatives of representatives, mike thompson of california. >> thank you very much. leader pelosi thank you for organizing this hearing and thank you for all the witnesses who came to share your exper tis and experiences with us. as a gun owner, i think we
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should pretect the second amendment rights. as a dad and graurned father i believe we have an important responsible to make sure our schools, community, and streets are safe. i know we can do both. one thing is real clear, now is the time for action. there is too much gun violence. there's no set of laws that will end the shootings and senseless acts of violence but that is no excuse for sitting around and doing nothing. the time is now. as the chair of the gun violence prevention task force i'm working on a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence. i've met with everybody, republicans, democrats, gun rights groups, gun safety group, people from the video game and movie industry, hunting groups, law enforcement leaders, and the vice president of the united states of america and with my constituents. we know this is a complex issue.
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in other words to make my meaningful progress it's going to take a complex solution. but every idea needs to be on the table and everyone needs to be at that table in other words for us to be successful. thank you all for coming today. i thank my colleagues for coming with their ideas, there are great ideas out there. i know working together we can put public policy in place that will make our communities safer and at the same time, protect law-abiding americans rights to own a firearm. thank you. >> the evidence of this problem that many people in this room have felt in their own lives the heavy burden of this pain on this issue. we're going to hear from caroline mccarthy from new york. >> thank you. i thank everybody for being
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here. each time there's a shooting, especially over the last -- i've been working on this issue for 18 years now. everybody thinks that this closure for victims, there is never closure for victims. it never goes away. every time there is a shooting each and every one of us go through the moment when the tragedy happened to our family. my husband died and my son was left paralyzed. it was during the time that he was learning to speak again. he asked me why and i did not have the answer. i am saying this because it is people like us that went through this tragedy. we're the ones that wanted to do the best we can to make sure no other family goes through what we've already gone through. many here have already experienced that. i will say that this is the first time in a long, long time since president clinton that i
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actually have real hope that we can get something done to save lives. it's been a tough battle. i would say to so many of the victims out there, there are times when we lose faith, there are times when we want to give up. all i can say is we can't give up. the shootings have only gotten worse. there are things we can could have done so many years ago that could have prevented so many of these killings. not only the mass killings, it is also the shootings that happen every single day. since what happened in connecticut, with those children and the teachers, 900 people have died from gun violence. i keep count. i keep count. because it is going to be up to all of us to try to talk to some of our members on both sides of the aisle that we as americans will stand with them if they
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stand with us and try to reduce gun violence. they do not have to be afraid of the radical n.r.a. i say thank you because there are many gun owners in this country that are good citizens and they should not be tagged with some of these astrossties that are happening. it is those that we have to call upon to reach out to those members of congress throughout the country, because we are here to do the right. the president and the vice president are here to do the right thing and they are going to use their office. but if we as americans don't also raise our voice this will begin another logs battle. we can't afford to lose another battle. we have common sense issues to stop gun violence holistically but when it comes down to it,
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assault weapons, weapons that are made for the military have no right to be on the street. they do not. i will say to you as our leader has said, we all take the oath of the constitution of the united states. we have never tried to enfridge on that -- enfringe on that to legal gun owners. the package that our coalition which agrees with the president and the vice president can make a difference. we know we can't save every single life. i was a nurse for many years before i came here. the best of the best couldn't save every single life. but that doesn't mean we couldn't try to make sure we did as much as we could to save those lives. that is what we're fighting for. it's heartening to see everybody
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here. it was heartening to see people at the white house who really care about this issue and have been fighting this issue longer than me. victims i've seen for 10 or 15 years still out there fighting. we can make a difference. this time it is different. it is different because those children, those children are an example of what happens daily in this country. it has to stop. we're americans. we're better than that. we are better than that. we cannot allow a group, a small minority of this country to stop us from doing the right thing. thank you. [applause]
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>> it gives me great pleasure to introduce a newly-elected colleague from connecticut who will introduce our first witness and that is congresswoman and whose district that sandy hook elementary school resides. we will have all the various members introduce our witnesses then we will proceed with the testimony. >> thank you so much. thanks to all of you for being with us today. as witnesses to what happened in our community of newtown, connecticut and as to a call for action as to what we must do as a country. i'm honored today to introduce janet robinson who has become a
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good friend, who is a true american hero. for five years she has served as the superintendent of schools in newtown, connecticut. throughout her career she has shown a constant and loving commitment to education and improving the lives of children. in addition to having served as superintendent of schools in three different connecticut communities, janet has served as a teacher, a school counselor, and a school psychologist. i met janet in the fire house which was the emergency center of newtown, connecticut on the afternoon of the shooting. janet was grieving. she was there with parents of children who didn't know if their children were going to come home. as we know, 20 of them did not. the next morning the this brave woman sat around a conference
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table with members of her community and began plan on how to protect those children and their family. how to reopen the school and get children back to learning. she was putting sandy hook community first, the teachers, the children, and those families. she did it all the time with her heartbroken for her friend who is were cut down on that terrible day. janet, i know you will provide invaluable expertise to us. you are an expert on children, on teaching, but most importantly, and for our purposes today, your an expert on the price of inaction. you are an expert because newtown has paid this price. you're children paid this price. your teachers paid this price. your administrators paid the price. the community paid the price. you speak with unquestionable authority on that subject.
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you've lived what has happened when we as political leaders don't act. you can speak to us today on who these people were, tell us about the extraordinary principal and leader of that school. the incredible children, several of those parent who is came today at the president's announcement. who these families are and the extraordinary community that you are a member of. what we need to do here today and with your help and guidance, you need to help us on how to prevent tragedy, about how to save lives, how to ensure that no other community endure what is newtown, connecticut has gone through. what happens now we could not prevent what happened then, we can go forward. this is about what happens now. i want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership and courage in your community coming here today.
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thank you very much. >> our next introducer is someone who bears both the physical and emotional scars of this issue. he stood by the side of our colleague gabby giffords on the day of that event in arizona. he stood by her ever since and he now has her seat ron barber. >> thank you. thanks for bringing us together and to reflect on what we as a nation can do to prevent any kind of reoccur rans. it is my honor to introduce emily nottingham. she's from tucson. emily and i have known each other for a long time even before i knew her son. she worked for 30 years in the city of tucson as an administrator for affordable housing and social services held that position until her
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retirement not too long ago. beyond that she has acted in many community organizations. i'm proud to say she was one of the first teem to join the advisory board an organization that my family and i established shortly after the shooting in tucson. she's also an outdoors person as was her son and is on the board of many nonprofits. she's the proud mother of two young men. when i was district director for congresswoman gabby giffords, gabe was my aid. it was a place where we put together the management of congresswoman giffords stay early on. he was my go-to guy. a young man with compassion and
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caring that it is beyond failed to think that he is no longer with us. he learned about service from his mother. she served, as i said, many nears with people who are disadvantaged in our community. it was gabe who set up that event on january 8, he was killed at that event. he died right beside me. i will never ever forget the image of gabe dying by my side. i know for certain that his last action was to come and try to help us. help me, help congresswoman giffords and for doing that he was shot. some of us here and in congress meet regularly in a room that is named in his honor, the gabe
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zimmerman room. every time guy there i remember this young man. his mother has been very active since -- she's always been active in our community but particularly active since the tragedy in tucson. she is willing and able to speak at any number of events and has done so to lend her personal understanding of what it means to lose a son in a tragedy like this. we were shot with a glock, with a climb or magazine i -- a clip or a magazine i should say. i know she wants to to do something about it and it is a great honor to hear her testimony today.
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>> thank you madame leader. on behalf of my colleague betty and i'm privileged to troin deuce scott knight who is the chief of police of minnesota. i would be amiss if i did not mention a mayor is here with us. thank you all for being here. chief scott knight started his career with the police department in 1976 and has been a police chief since 2000. chief knight was appointed to the international chief of police executive committee and has served as chair of the iacp firearms committee.
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he has been a leader in the fight against gun violence. law enforcement is a key constituent if we're going to bring this state of gun violence under control. chief knight has not only been a leader to fight against gun violence but also violence against officers and illegal gun trade. in 2010, the incp joined nine other law enforcement organizations to form the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. chief knight was chairman of the partnership during its first year. in 2008, chief knight received the minnesota chief of police association award on his work in gun violence. he has testified before congress before and is an expert in this
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area and we're very pleased to greet you here today, chief. thank you. >> our final introducer is congressman chaka fattah. >> thank you. we're about to celebrate the life and legacy of dr. king and we're reminded on that balcony in memory sis he was -- memphis he was shot down. president kennedy was shot. we are reminded in washington all the time of the dangers of guns. that's why you went through the security protection to come into this building. the supreme court ruled that everyone has a right to bear arms and it makes clear you can't bring them into the supreme court. so -- that is because we know guns are dangerous. so as much as people may
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proclaim one thing you have to look at their actions. on the floor of the house, we saw a member shot down once that's why we have bulletproof things and other kinds of protections. mayor nutter is someone growing up in west philadelphia, the best place in the world to grow up is a forecast councilman and is a mayor of our city, in so many respects he is the nation's mayor. we working to on gun buybacks but he has had to counsel families of police officers who have been killed. there are litterly dozens of children over 50 a day shot every day in our country and mayor, it is good to see you. there is so much more that could be said but it is more important
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that we hear from the witnesses. i want to welcome my friend and the leader of the united states conference of mayors here today and we await his testimony. thank you. >> thank you. we're honored by each of your presence and went would like to begin with janet robinson. >> thank you very much. i'm here to give a face to the children, the staff, the families of sandy hook in newtown, connecticut. our on a beautiful winter morning in december buses dropped off their precious cargo. nearly 500 elementary children with their expectations like all little children that good things will happen today. maybe, what is for lunch today? will i have a chance to play with my friends at recess? in the first three classrooms
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the little first graders coats were hung up and the morning routine began with circle time. they spoke about the activities of the day. this was a typical routine of sandy hook elementary school. a place that exudes carrying, happiness, nurturing, from the moment you walk through the door. if you pass a child or adult in the hall you will get a smile or a cheerful greeting. sandy hook elementary school seemed like the safest place in on thert the quiet community. this school has been known for the saw bush education the students receive over 50 years and has been acknowledged as a vanguard school. its tradition of caring about the whole child is well-known
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and part of that tradition. this school is an important piece of the fabric of this community. that morning was like every other morning. after all routines are comforting for kids. until about 9:30 when a troubled young man carrying two guns. one of them an assault rifle shot out the glass window to bypass the buzz-in system and to change the lives of so many people in the next few minutes. he went through the front door where normally three secretaries would be working, she flew under the desk. then he went back into the hall where he was confronted by the principal, the lead teacher, and the school's psychologist who emerged from a meeting in a conference room. i can picture don's -- dawn's
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internation to believe that someone would come into her school. she would not think of her safety but making him stop. i can visualize of her trying to take charge. she would do anything to protect her charge. that's where they found the bodies of dawn and mary rushing towards the attacker. natalie, fortunately, survived. the shooter bypassed the first grade classroom and started shooting in the second grade classroom killing the teacher and all but one child who was clever enough to play dead. by this time, a teacher in the third room crammed as many
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children in the bathroom when the teacher took aim on her and her chutes. vick i can who was so excited wo to reach her dream as a teacher through herself in front of her students. anne marie was an assistant for a boy with special needs and she died trying to shield him. none of these brave women were trained in combat. they were elementary school educaters dedicated to educating their young children. their first response when com fronting by this terror was to protect their children. thank goodness for our first responders, they arrived in three minutes which is incredible of n a town of 60 square miles, mainly county
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roads. they arrived as the shooter carried enough ammunition to take out the entire school. this loving elementary school was helpless. 20 beautiful first graders were lot that day in a senseless act. there were no match for a troubled person with an ar 15. at the fire house where we gathered to try to sort through the events of the day. the true her of the assault became apparent as parents came running to the station looking if you are that children. as we released children we began to realize we did not have enough children. there were parents without children. it was then i began to realize the magnitude of this her. six dedicated educaters were lost including the phenomenal principal who took over the leadership of sandy hook two and half years agoes.
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shed a vast knowledge of good instruction and coached already affective teachers to stretch for excellence. she joined in all the fun with gusto. she was all in. she might show up at a meeting in pajamas or dress like a fairy princess. the students knew she liked to have fun at part of the learning yes, she was sure about making sure the students had a solid education. now, we as a community are struggle to pick up the pieces and determine what this new normal looks and feels like. our sense of security has been shattered. innocent children and the people
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who teach them were gunned down. we're all forever changed. some families have a huge hole left by a 6-year-old. family who is have their children are still suffering from the nightmares and fears of sounds and strangers. children who are even fearful in their own classrooms. who know wlass the long-term impact will be for those children who had the innocence of childhood shattered. what do i say when the parents when they put their children on the school bus they are sure they will come home? how do i let children enjoy being children? i've heard a measure of society is how they treat their children. so help me give these children their futures. i would like to share with you
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as one final thought a fourth grade student sent you a letter and her name is ava. she says i'm a fourth grade student. after the shooting in my town i started an online petition asking for help to change the gun laws. it is got a lot of support from all over america but i had to take it down because police were worried about my safety. what everyone in newtown wants you to ban large capacity magazines and for everyone to keep peep safe. semi automatic weapons end lives and put lives at risk. this ban will help individuals, family, and communities from suffering the way we are in newtown. in newtown's center there is hundreds of cards and pictures from children and adults from
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all over america. it is so sad. people who are against changing gun laws they should walk through the hallway and read one card to realize how many people want this change. we would appreciate anything you can do to help. this is some of the thousands and thousands of cards and letters that are in the hall. it shows the support and the feeling among the people in this country. thank you for doing what you're doing here. [applause] >> dr. robinson, that deeply wounded community is so fortunate to have a person of your strength an character to guide. we're so thankful that you're here today and moved by what you
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said. >> thank you. >> the mayor of philadelphia, the president of the conference, is there any other mayors with you that you would like to acknowledge we will understand. mayor welcome. [applause] if there's others mayor feel free. welcome, mayor nutter. >> leader pelosi and chairman andrews and all the members of the house democrats and the policy committeety. let me first say you make me very proud. very proud of the opportunity to be with you and more importantly, that you have taken the time to try to address these issues. i'm michael a. nutter mayor of the city of philadelphia,
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president of the u.s. conference of mayors. we're joined by a number of -- >> the chief's microphone? maybe that will work. >> we are joined today by a number of mayors. a number of us are members of the organization mayors against illegal guns. it has provided tremendous leadership by mayor bloomberg. to all the mayors who are here thank you for your leadership as well. i'm here before you on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors to discuss with you the views of
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the nation's mayors on what we must do to reduce gun violence in this nation and to make our cities and towns, our streets, our schools, our theaters, our places of worship safer places for all of our people. again, and again and again americans have been stunned by senseless violence and acts of violence involving guns. december 14, 2012 tragedy targeting young children in newtown remains incomprehensionible. too many times in the last year mayors have expressed shock at the mass shooting. even more frequently many of us must cope with gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities every day. the u.s. conference of mayors have been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public
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for more than 40 years. mayors and police chiefs have worked together in this effort for decades. we have done this because of the tremendous toll which gun violence takes on the american public day in and day out. let me share you -- with you some numbers. every day in american more than 100,000 people are shot. 37 -- 37,375 die. every year, 18,000 children and teenagers are shot. 2,829 of them die including, 1,888 who are murdered. every day in america, 282 people
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are shot and 86 die including 32 who are murdered. every day 50 children and teens are shot and eight of them die, including five who are murdered. if this was disease killing that many people, if this were accidents killing that many people, if this were bags of tainted spinnish killing that many people this country would take immediate and swift action to stop that kind of death toll. somehow, some seemingly paralyzed when it comes to guns and violence but i would repeat what congresswoman mccarthy said
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this time is different and it must be. gun violence dispro proportionately affects metro poll tan areas. 39% of gun related murderers and 23% of total homicides. philadelphia, like many major cities have you struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent successes deaths due to gun violence have not dramatically fallen. here's one set of statistics to illustrate this point. last year, the number of shooting victims in philadelphia was 1,282. this is down considerably from the year before. it was the lowest number since
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we began tracking shooting victims in 2000. however, the number of homicides was actually slightly up last year, 331, seven more than the previous year. how are these two statistics possible? the answer is the homicide victims have more bullets killing them. put it another way, there are more rounds being fired and more intentional head shots. so despite better policing and someone in philadelphia is shot, unfortunately, they may be more likely to die even though there are fewer shooting victims. we had an 11% increase last year in philadelphia in head shots. we had an 30% increase in the number of bullets found at scenes measuring more than 20 rounds at a location.
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let me note that pennsylvania does not have stringent gun restrictions. when the city of philadelphia adopted stricter gun laws the state supreme court struck some of those laws down. that is why we need federal legislation, comprehensive, common sense federal legislation for all of us to be safe. [applause] cities alone cannot reduce gun violence by themselves. we are doing everything we can but still losing the battle thanks to the per live ration to guns in our nation. our story is not unique. mayors everywhere are dealing with this problem.
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they use resources which we should be using to educate our children, create jobs and revitalize our cities. in an open letter to the president and the congress sent three days after the newtown massacre we urged immediate action and over 200 mayors signed on to that letter. we called on the president to exercise his powers through executive orders and the congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. specifically, we called on congress to one, enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines that is now being prepared by the senator. two, strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes. three, strengthen the penalties for illegal purchases of guns. today, president obama and vice
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president biden released the administration's plan to reduce gun violence through new legislation and executive action. i was honored to be at the white house earlier today for that release and i can tell you that the administration clearly listened closely to the recommendation which the mayors have offered. the nation's mayors urge congress to give that report full consideration and to move swiftly forward on the legislative action it requires. we know preventing gun violence whether it is a mass shoot information a school or murder on a street corner will take more than just strengthening our gun laws. we need to reverse a culture of violence in our nation so violent acts are not the first response of settling a difference or compensating for a wrong. we need to fund our mental health system so we can identify troubled individuals earlier and get them the help they need.
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lastly, in addition i personally support the creation of a national commission of domestic terrorism, violence, and crime in america. it will commmen issues and put prmses on what gfment can do on a local, state, and national level to reduce terrorism and prevent attacks such as those we witnesses in newtown, aurora, tucson, and at virginia tech. yesterday, as mayor of philadelphia, i announced and put forward something i refer to as the sandy hook principles. these are called to action to heed the basic core values of american citizens and promoting the health, safety, and well being of our communities. the objective is to influence the behavior of gun and am you nation manufacturers,
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distributors and retailers by establishing a base line standard for a responsible conduct of their business. i will share these principles with many other mayors and we expect these we will review and discuss them in the days ahead. let me be clear, strebtsening our gun laws should not have to wait for these other actions to occur. the time for action is now. the nation's mayor's pledge to work with you to build a safer america for our children and for all of our citizens. lastly, let me say this a father. i find it reprehensible and disgusting that the n.r.a. would place an ad on television attacking president obama's daughters. [applause]
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even in this, at times outrageous business of politics which we're all engaged, we must have the sense to not attack the families and children of those of us engaged in public service. the n.r.a. has struck an incredibly new low in public discourse and that ad should be removed immediately. it has -- [applause] that ad has no place in the legitimate dialogue that must take place in order to make this country safer for all of us, especially our children. thank you madame leader. >> thank you mayor for your powerful testimony. miss nottingham your son,
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personified what so many people choose to do, we're happy that you are here to share your thoughts with us. welcome. >> thank you for having me. it's fitting that we're holding this meeting near the gabe zimmerman room. gabe was my son and he worked with your colleague, congresswoman gabby giffords. a man armed with high-capacity magazines and a semi automatic weapon shot the congresswoman then turned on the people who ran to see her. he murdered six, including my son and injured 13 people, including congressman ron barber with 31 bullets before retried to reload his magazine. only then did citizen heroes have the opportunity to tackle him to the ground and disarm
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him. on that will sunny day those people, including a 9-year-old girl not much older than the children killed in newtown were exercising their rights. their right to free of asemly, the right to freedom of speech. they were trying to be good citizens, participating in the democratic process. i'm sad beyond words at the death and injuries in tucson, aurora, newtown, and too many other placeses. i'm also angry that we, you and i, have made it so easy for these things to happen. we've allowed ourselves to overemphasize gun rights to the debt triment of other rights, including the most important, the right to be alive. we've allowed our families to lose the feeling of safety at school, at the movies and gabe,
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who had a passion for social justice would be furious. please, do not be swayed by the line that the only way to combat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. there was a good guy with a gun at the tucson shooting but he almost shot the citizen hero that tackled the shooter. i'm here to encourage you to tackle this serious public health issue with resolve, with facts, and with a complexity with the approach that it requires. i fully understand that we can't stop every shooting. but if we can take action and save some of our loved ones shouldn't we do everything we can? we've known some of the solutions for decades but have failed to act. we need better access to and
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funding of our men the health systems. we need universal background checks and to take high-capacity magazines off the streets. we need the c.d.c. to fully research gun violence. i'm also here because i think it helps to bolster your resolve when you think of the victims as real people not just statistics. gabe was like many of your staffers. he worked long hours on horrible takeout food. he had plans that morning. picking a wedding location, helping his mom, that's me, hook up her tv, figuring out a birthday present for his fiance. instead, he was shot in the head as he ran to help his boss by a man wielding wop to kill many people quickly. have you ever had that nightmare where you knew you were supposed to be but couldn't get there?
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that was my january 8. as i searched hospitals to find my son who did not answer his cell phone and i thought was wounded. it took hours to find out that he died before he hit the ground and his body was still on the sidewalk where he fell. when your disharnted beenty number of steps that have to be taken b the fears of others, by the politics please dig deep and find new heart. think for a moment about your young staffers, your children or grandchildren. now imagine that cell phone in your pocket is vibrating and the message says they have been murder bid a stranger with an assault weapon. imagine that. keep working to protect your staffers, our children, our nation. we need you to not give up. thank you.
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[applause] >> thank you miss nottingham. we aspire to equal your commitment. thank you so much for that moving testimony and courage we thank you for that moving testimony. this problem is prevalent in our cities but not only in our cities. our next witness knows that the
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sad national effect of gun violence, chief knight. >> good afternoon. thank you leader pelosi for the opportunity to speak before the committee. i've been involved in firearms policy and legislation for a long time. i've been a police officer for 36 years and chief for 12. i'm a forecast chair of the firearms committee and the forecast chair of the partnership to prevent gun violence. for many years we have worked to try to stop the madness and advert the tragedies we're seeing. these tragedies occur every day with real people, police officers included losing their lives or suffering injury due to inadequacy of our gun laws. law enforcement is on the front lines of the gun violence
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epidemic. in 2011, for first time -- first time in 14 years more law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by guns than any other means. about 2,000 children under the age of 18 are killed every year by guns. how sad that it has taken such horror richic mass murderers, including those of the 20 small children in connecticut to get our attention. this debate about gun violence are inadequately depicted as propro gun or antigun. it had started a debate -- discussion on gun violence.
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we're not antiguns, we carry gun, many of us are hunters. we know guns in dangerous hands are terrible consequences. we have seen the devastation caused by weapons with excessive fire power. federal law deems certain categories of people too dangerous to possess firearms. among them, felonies, fugitives, minors, and those committed to a mental institution. the brady law enacted in 1994, established a national background check system. but those checks, as you know, are only required when someone is making a purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
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a way around those checks is for a person to purchase at a gun show, an ad, or through a private party. we know, we've heard an estimated 40% of firearms are acquired through private transactions, meaning a prohibited person can and does obtain a weapon without a background check. after the tragedy in newtown, the gun lobby funded in part by the fun makers, proclaimed the solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. but the real solution is to prevent the bad guy from getting a gun in the first place is to do a background check. that's something a good guy does. from 1994 when the brady law took effect to 2009, by the way that is the last public data we could get, nearly two million
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prohibited purchases were blocked. can you imagine? can you imagine what the current data might be? that's a lot of bad guys prevented from getting guns. that is good guys stopping bad guys. it is time to stop dangerousconn requiring background checks for all purposes. approve a also background check system. but too many records are not in because states are behind in their reporting. to many states have not submitted records for those who have disqualifying health issues. this must be fixed.
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assault weapons are not legitimate sporting guns, nor were they designed for citizens to use in defending their homes. they were created to spray bullets in rapid fire on a battlefield, not on our streets. this kind of firepower in our communities is simply irresponsible and facilitates mass murder. high-capacity magazines will reduce -- banning high capacity magazines will reduce -- perpetrators have been taken down while they are changing out magazines trying to reload. semi-automatic assault weapons already exist. they should be treated the same way we
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is a distraction, and it is a very dangerous one. it opens a host of security issues. it is very difficult for a highly trained police officer to engage an active shooter. it takes a great deal of training. that our teachers, principals, and superintendents to not have the time and are probably not inclined to do police in school. police in schools help make schools safer by building relationships and trust. relationships and
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trust that stop the bad guy before the event happens. we have relationships to develop information so we know when someone is in trouble, so we know when someone is struggling, and we know they are threatening to do something because we have the evidence of it and it is typically the school resource officer who develops that relationship and gets that information and stops that event. it happens every day. because nothing happened, it does not make the news. i want to stress the atf needs a director in place as soon as possible. [laughter] [applause] that post has not been vacant. a seriousnd i know light needs to be shined on the amendments and they need to be repealed and removed. [applause]
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all across the country, law enforcement and the public are calling upon congress to strengthen our nation's laws. ask you he our call and enact these sensible measures that will prevent further bloodshed. thank you. [applause] >> thank you all very much for what has been a most extraordinary, a powerful testimony. and prescriptions for us to take back and thank you for giving us the strength and the resolve to help make these changes. we cannot do it without you. i think you know we hope you
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know we are with you in trying to make these changes. we are now going to move to questions. i will introduce my colleague, mike thompson. a member of one of his vice chairs on the violence committee. we will have a one minute question and that will be when we get to dealing with our members. >> thank you. it gives me great pleasure to introduce one of the vice chairs on the task force to prevent violence. in juvenile justice. our colleague from california in juvenile justice, and our virginia.ntleman from
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>> i want to point out we have already had recommendations from the president and the vice president. we will have additional recommendations. we know we will have a serious response to the tragedy in new town. we also have to make recommendations to address violence generally. that must be done with a comprehensive approach. a doctor who is a forensics colleges frequently reminds us that if you're prevention plan begins when the shooter is that the door, it is too late. the youth promise act seeks to replace the cradle to prison pipeline. the attorney general, blue- ribbon commission report on how to reduce problems associated with children exposed to silence was published a few months ago.
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it focuses on prevention and early intervention and uses the phrase, evidence-based on virtually every page. it urges us to follow evidence and research and avoid slogans and feel good approaches that are not affected. -- effective. we can have confidence that our recommendations can make a difference and our children across the nation will be protected. >> i would like to recognize, standup, those associated with the virginia track tragedy -- virginia tech tragedy. [applause] >> thank you. what we will do now is, first of
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all, this has been an outpouring of member support for this effort. we have had over 60 members of the house of representatives here. we are not in session. there are no votes. members stay because of their view of the importance of this issue. this is how we handle the questions because there are so many. we continue to recognize members in the order they come in. we are going to ask members in batches of five. asked one question each. -- ask one questions each. you have one minute to ask your question, then we will have the panel handle those. what we would like to do is do
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this in a 10 minute block of time so we can get around to as many questions as we can. the first grouping of questions -- i want to join you in saluting the panel today. a call to action. you certainly have heralded that col. i know the mayor has to get back to work in philadelphia. if you have to slip out, we understand. [applause] >> i will ask the following five members to kick it off. the representative from new jersey, the representative from florida, the representative from new york, and the representative
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from oregon. >> thank you very much. my question is probably a broad one and widespread. and probably directed to the mayor and the chief of police. with all of the budgetary restraints we suffer throughout this country, certainly here, do you think you can have an effective program without federal funding? >> no. >> we will take all five questions at one time. [laughter] >> thank you for this. they make one cry and they should make one angry and outraged and determined and committed.
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why is america so different candy statistics you gave us? it is not that we have so much more mental illness or less health care than other countries or fewer armed police or more defenseless students. it is not only american youth who play violent video games. it is not that we have so little information about bad guys. and yet, we have so many more gun deaths. what are the major distractions in these arguments that we have to guard ourselves against? over the decades, we have been distracted from actually confronting the problem. >> thank you. thank you panelists for your moving testimony. my home state of oregon is one of the few states that requires
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universal background checks for all firearms sales. the recent shooting at the town center shopping mall, the shooter killed two before turning the gun on himself. he stole his assault rifle. the newtown shooter used weapons owned by his mother. what other steps can we take ?ac how >> thank you. we had an entire police force at virginia tech. what i would likely -- like to principally focus on, being from virginia, invariably the nra says philadelphia and d.c.
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and other major cities have the tougher gun laws but look at all the gun crime. virginia is one of the major problems. what happens, even though the governor passed a law limiting handgun to one gun a month, they then reversed it. now, people will go in, and whether it is a gun show or whatever, they will buy cases of guns, transport them up 95, and find a convenient urban street quarter, open up the truck, and sell the guns. i would like the mayor to address that phenomenon and why it's a man's federal legislation. thank you. >> one minute, then i will ask the mayor to answer the question first because he will have to leave. >> thank you. thank you for your presence here and your testimony. i represent flint michigan. over the last few years, one in every 540 residents have been
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slain. an amazing statistic. i talked to our prosecutor today. his concern is that the guns he sees in the streets are held by teenagers, and not a single one of them acquired legally. i suppose i would ask the chief specifically to comment on what federal support, local police chief, particularly places that have precious few local resources available, what federal support would be most helpful in dealing with this problem? >> i will try to be quick. thank you for your accommodations with regard to my schedule and the opportunity.
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congresswoman johnson, you asked a question with regard to, can we really -- we do witwhat we do with what we have. as part of my testimony, i talked about dealing with these issues at the federal level. in the aftermath of 9/11, the united states said we will do whatever it takes to make sure we are safe. what i want is someone to say we will do whatever it takes walking. i want to be safe in my neighborhood. i want my children to go to school. i want the same company -- same response to international terrorism to domestic terrorism icy on a regular basis. funding, personnel, equipment , support, technology. a focus on regular basis that domestic terrorism is as important as international terrorism.
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you almost have to take all of your clothes off to get in an airplane. one guy had a bomb in his shoe, and yet all of us take off our shoes to get on the airplane. that is fine. i want to be safe. we cannot do what we need to do without serious focused federal support. that is what the idea is out. a 9/11 commission told us what we need to be doing to be safe in the air. we need that same kind of response on the ground. that is one answered. congressman, to your question, i think one of the reasons, i do not think americans are not that much more prone to violence. but when you have almost as many guns as you have people in this country, invariably, they end up in the hands of folks who should not have them. . tried to pass them in
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philadelphia and we did get this one by. the simple idea that you had to report your weapon, lost or stolen, if you want to make a claim about your car to the insurance company, you have to report it stolen. back in 2008, one of the proudest moments of my entire prickle career. -- political career. [laughter] [applause] it is a distraction. we have to be prepared to fight back, in many of the similar ways. they have done their best to gut and under fund, through congress, not confirmed a director, taken away the ability to accumulate information for law-enforcement purposes. if you will solve a problem, you need to know what problem and
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data information. they have taken every possible step to block that agency or anyone else. we can put a person on the moon but i cannot assure that you will be safe walking around the corner. we need data and information. gunlocks. in connecticut, the person took his mother's weapons. one of the proposals out of what i released yesterday, the sandy hook principles. when you walk into a video store or an electronics store, you buy a dvd player, they immediately offer you the two- year warranty. when you walk into a gun store, after the background check, which everyone should go to, they should also offer you a gun law. or ask if you have a gun locker in your house or business where this will be stored?
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that should be a part of the sale. that is the only person who should be able to get access to that weapon. we know the technology exists. you can make guns in such a way that only the legitimate owner and operator can operate at a weapon. that would cut down tremendously on the fact that, in my city and many others, you can rent guns across the city. you walk in and they sell you an array of weapons. you put your weapon. you put your money down. you do whatever it is you do and you bring it back. they know who you are. donne's circulate. they are already there. -- guns circulate. they are already there parish we in pennsylvania have of the weaker laws. in place that you have tougher laws, they may be crazy, but they are not totally stupid.
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they crawl across -- they go across the county lines and bring them back and engage in activities. that is why we need federal legislation covering the entire united states. that is what we need. the people involved in that particular business and the many instances, it could be a spouse, a girlfriend, or fund, whatever the case may be. the person knows they cannot buy weapons themselves. that person is engaged in criminal activity and they should have the hammer come down on them as well. you need sentences for people who walk around with unlicensed weapons. if you look to new york and commend the governor for what he did yesterday, new york city, a few years ago, walking around with his own weapon, and licensed, shot himself in the leg, -- unlicensed, shot himself
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in the leg. no one seems to care whether or not they have them or not. those are illegal guns and they should not be on our streets and we should step up law enforcement activity and snacks those illegal guns off the streets of america. all this, -- snatched those illegal guns off the streets of america. those illegal guns off the streets of america. somehow the government is going to do something that causes everyone to be armed, that we are marching down the street, coming after guns, is a whole lot of nonsense. the people who are not dealing in the reality of what i and achieve and what might -- and what many other states on a daily basis. we have real jobs, with real responsibilities, trying to make folks stakes -- say. we need to have a serious conversation about these issues.
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thank you. >> thank you very much, mayor. >> thank you very much. [applause] our next group, we asked people try to hear, the first is ms. barba leaf from california. a-- barbara lee from california. when you are responding to this group, if you would like to comment on the earlier questions, please feel free. >> thank you. my heartfelt condolences go to the families of your loved ones and to the entire newtown community. i am from oakland california.
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our thoughts and prayers are to you. 15 of my constituents were shot last week. could you please give us an idea of what cities and police officers and mares confront in terms of daily gun violence? >> i want to add my appreciation for the incredibly touching and courageous remarks today. i can tell you i have renewed resolve because of your courage and dedication and compassion and i recognize this is the day to commit, from this day forward, that we need comprehensive federal reform so we are doing something meaningful about the gun violence in this country. i come from the district in new mexico where we have significant gun violence and tragedy. many of the questions i would have been asked. a new question.
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in the aftermath of this incredible tragedy in newtown, and i want to make sure i recognize, what can we do in congress today to help the newtown?of unusedtow >> thank you. >> thank you, my condolences. also to the representatives from the virginia shooting. my sincere condolences. we live in a culture of violence. the question is, how do we change from a culture of violence into a culture of education and a culture of peacefulness? it takes money. we here in congress have that ability. preventing mass shootings by way of banning assault weapons and
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high-capacity magazines, certainly something we should do. we need to get at the issue of violence that affects us with respect to handguns used primarily in inner-city areas to kill people. i am not advocating for a ban on handguns. do not get me wrong. i will say we need to address the issue of violence in our culture. i would like to know what kinds of resources are available to help students and help people in the community, adults, who have an emotional or mental disorders and whether or not we need to put more resources into that area. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you for being here for your amazing testimony. i want to follow up on the mental health question as well.
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i do not know if you could identify. immediate steps cities and schools can take to identify -- there is no other place for them to go. on the other hand, california has had a civil commitment standard procedure for involuntary commitments and i wonder whether you think that is an important thing to look at as we look at options. >> thank you. david? >> thank you. dr. robinson, i would like to direct this question to you. the national rifle association has said the best way in response to what happened at wtown was toin new town wa arm teachers.
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how would you respond to the nra on that? and why you feel strongly that a large part of the answer to this is to deal with these weapons of mass destruction, high capacity weapons. >> thank you for your patience. >> is a sensitive question. we realize now in the midst of this and looking back, there are ases dealing with this trauma. this is a start of a recovery.
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it is still painful. mental health is a big piece. part of what i have come to realize is when you lost your whole sense of safety, you start to look for things that are concrete and give you visible signs of safety. parents are looking to see police are out there and in the building. parents are demanding their be fro's in all of our elementary schools. people seem to need that. some of my teachers are saying they need escape ladders in the room. they need to have the door changed. they need to have new locks. they are creating a list of things they think they need to have to feel safe because they have lost their personal sense of safety. congress could take a real critical look at the unique
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situations that happen. the mental health support is very necessary. i think my people need support for a long time. i do not think when these people go away, they start talking about a transition plan and i say, stop. we cannot talk transition. we are not there. we need more long-term kind of support when a traumatic incident occurs. that is mental health and there are visible signs of security so we can keep going.
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my dad was career military. my husband was a navy pilot. we do not keep guns. i have great respect for guns. my dad used to keep -- used to teach me how to shoot. i have great respect. if you remember what the chief said, it is to take the great deal of training for a police officer to shoot a weapon in action. teachers are teachers. if you think about elementary school teachers, they love kids. they are not going to sit on the floor and read to the kids with a gun at their head. there was a very insensitive individual who immediately after this made some claim that if don had just had a weapon in her desk, she could have taken care of it. she was not at her desk and no good principle is.
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many little kids can get injured with inexperienced elementary school teachers walking around with guns? it is not even logical. my people tell me they need to see right now. they need to see armed policeman. i think it is that loss of security that is important. your third party question had to do with high capacity. he shot every one of these kids 3 to 11 times. that was not necessary. all that ammunition, maybe dawn
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and the people coming out could have stopped him. that is the death of my feeling. >> did you have a comment? then we will go to the chief. >> there is not a quick recovery. that should be understood and recognized. moving to a culture of education rather than a culture of violence. one of the things we can work on its anti bullying programs in schools. where we learn about violence
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and we model violence, children learn very young. if we address this through educational aspects, then we should look at additional support for anti bali activities in our schools. -- anti bullying activities in our schools. >> some of these overlap. firstly, funding. yes, please, we do. there are a number of ways we use it. in my city, the lion's share of public schools in my district are in our city. we know how they are strapped.
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yes to the funding peace. to the met ipod keith walker -- piece. they are having a bad today -- that day to day. what is going on? have you seen his facebook page? i am being bullied on facebook. all of these things that lead us to bend to -- to mental health issues. an officer on the street today gets called because someone is having an episode of some nature. maybe a family member calls or a co-worker calls. having some sort of episode. the officer comes. evaluates, and determines something is going on here. this person needs to be seen. they have committed no crime a lot of the time.
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in minnesota, and i think this is similar throughout our country, they execute a 72 hour hold. a lot of people say, good. the situation is resolved for 72 hours. this individual will receive some sort of care and diagnosis. that is not true. the hold only gives the authority say, you will have to come to me and this crew and you are going to this hospital. upon arrival, often, because the history is not known, a host of legitimate reasons, the physician or whomever is seeing that prison releases them right then. they are out. yes, that is a problem. my peers will tell you jails have become defacto institutions. a lot of these people
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immediately -- some crime happens, and now they are in jail. they are not getting treated. i hope that goes to your question. >> can i interrupt you for one second? i know the doctor will catch a plane. we want to say thank you for yto you. our thoughts and prayers are with you and the newtown community. thank you. [applause] sorry, chief. >> no, i am sorry. to the question about someone legally owns a weapon and then another person gets their hands on it, a family member or whatever, yes, it happens. we know it happens.
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there should be legislation that requires the safe storage and the separation of weapons and ammunition. so they are not available to anyone who might come upon them. just so you know, it was not that long ago that the gunlocks were given out with weapons. the company was vilified by the industry. guess what they stopped doing. it is a business decision. it was a prudent business decision to stop it. where is the sanity in that? it does not exist. it does not. in regard to the daily violence we see, we see it. in my city, very few murders,
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but a lot of suicides and accidents. in the past 12 months, we have got four people who shoot themselves. they are accidents. two of them were demonstrating the weapon was unloaded. we are dealing with gun violence all the time. does not make the news that my officers are taking guns off of people all the time. nothing happened, think god. -- god.n thank i started in 1976. in the car, if needed, was a shotgun. that was the weapon to go to if it really got heavy.
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it was inadequate. it was no longer adequate for the flats -- threats the officer face on the streets. we moved to a rifle. we level the field a little. today, my officers have ar-15's in their cars. do you think it is because i want to? i am doing it because i am forced to to provide my officers the tools they need to keep you, my family, my community, and themselves safe. it is not simply because it is a new, sexy weapon we need to acquire. i hope that goes to your question. i hope i touched on all the questions. >> thank you. this is the last bit of
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questions here. there you are. i did not see you. he may have left. ok. one minute. >> let me acknowledge to the doctor our deepest sympathy and respect to the young man and a hero, your son. certainly to the tragedy we have witnessed. i also want to acknowledge two people in the room who experienced gun violence and lost their sons to gun violence. [applause]
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i come from texas and i will hold this up. "at top of gun world." we are not after people's guns. the headline says, they are strictly controlled by the united states government. not only that, before someone breaks in to take their guns, because they are in a vault. tell me about being outgunned as a police officer and the importance of storing guns. you mentioned it earlier. in people's homes. i think that is enormously crucial. >> thank you. i protect we want -- i particularly want to thank the doctor. i cannot imagine the pain you
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field. i do not have any questions. i just want to ask for your help and all those who are listening today. we have all been listening to the recent polls. 88 percent of american people support closing the gun show loophole. 76% support universal background check. 65% support banning high- capacity magazines. we have heard your wisdom today. i just hope we can work together to use the american people to get legislation cat -- legislation passed from both the senate and house. new york passed tough legislation this week. we can do it with your help. i think you for appearing here today. thank you. -- i thank you for appearing here today. thank you. >> thank you so much.
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i join all of you who have turned your pain into plants. i really appreciate your appearing to help us sort through these things. i think part of what makes all of us helpless is, how do you prepare in a sleepy town like newtown. ? you do not prepare for that. i am talking about domestic violence. we know every single day, there will be a woman killed because there are restraining orders put out there, and a woman whose spouse has a firearm is five
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times more likely to be killed. we have federal laws prohibiting misdemeanor or felony, folks with felonies from having a firearm. what do you think? maybe a grant program we could give to the states to align their domestic violence laws and to give them grants so as soon as that restraining order is put down, they seize firearms from them right that day. no need to go to a psychiatrist. you got a restraining order, we get your firearms that day until the judge lifts that order at some point. that is put into it immediately
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hamas so you can i get a gun. thank you. >> one minute, comment, question. >> can you hear me? there we go. i have a question with regard to mental health services. before that, i want to correct something i have been saying for a few days that is now incorrect. i was saying those of us shot on january 8 were shot in 45 seconds. i learned yesterday 33 bullets were discharged in 19 seconds. it emphasizes all the more the need to do something about it. my question about mental health, we have a bill in play that will hopefully provide training. what more can we do to provide
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good information, practical information for those who might come into contact with those fermenta on this to help prevent these kinds of tragedies? >> respond. >> the question about gun storage, particularly in a home venue. i think one of the issues, and this is a personal opinion -- our country has a solid hunting and sporting tradition. it was waning. we have a lot of people with guns now who grew up in such traditions and cultures and they do not hunt. with that comes the lack of respect for a weapon. secondly, this idea of guns unsecured, loaded, in a home,
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under a pillow, in the night stand, on top of the refrigerator, wherever it is, that anyone can come along, especially a child, and pick up. we need legislation that makes it a crime. we can say after the fact, social services, an unsafe environment, but that does not get at the issue. they have to be creative sometimes to do that. in regards to domestic violence, absolutely. here is what we can do. forgive me for saying the obvious, ncic is a wonderful thing. anything with a serial number goes in there, like a toaster. it is not necessarily a go to database to get what we want to get at. i think you are right on. those people should go into the
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next system right away. what we need is funding for crisis teams. a lot of times, someone needs help and an officer rolls up at 3:00 in the morning and they are very limited in the resources available to them. if there is funding for properly trained crisis intervention people, there we go. now we have got something. now it is the mental health e r and the offices do not have to try to be creative or drive away because there is nothing they can do. was there another question? >> i wanted to add one thing. i am not an expert in mental health. i just want to say in any comprehensive package, including
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appropriate funding for increased access to mental health services, and increased mental health services, it is absolutely crucial. we do not want to have to solve our problems by tackling a shooter after they have run out of bullets in the high-capacity magazine. we want to stop them from ever feeling the need to pick up that done. if we could include mental health in a comprehensive package, i think it is crucial. >> i say thank you. if you have closing remarks you want to make. a startling statistic i found out is 67% of adults, 80% of our children who have mental health issues, are not being treated for those issues. i thought the numbers were
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staggering. no one would believe me. and that we have gotten the citation wrong. let me ask you if you have closing remarks before i turn it over. >> thank you for listening to us and stay the course. >> thank you. i have over the years met with a lot of you. i know where your hearts are. i know where they are and i thank you. what a great day this was, leaving the white house and coming to this. thank you. >> i would say this, there are those that say the gun lobby has caused great fear among your colleagues. maybe they would rather do something but because of this year, they go with the gun lobby. i would like to suggest this. for that individual, not you folks, but that individual struggling with that fear. that is not fear. that is inconvenience. that is heartburn. fear is what went through the
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hearts and minds of those 21st graders in connecticut. that is pure. -- 21st graders -- 20 first graders in connecticut. that is fear. all those other issues, how is that fear? it is just becoming agitated. -- educated. [applause] >> thank you. i thank you, congresswoman, congressman, cochairs, policy committee, i think all of our colleagues. this is the biggest show of members we have had for any hearing by far. i might add there is an overflow room of folks who have been listening to this proceeding. i think our witnesses for sharing the story, their experience.
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you honor us with your generosity of spirit and time to be with us. i know you have big demands, especially at this time, for your opinions. as i mentioned earlier, the call to action, gun violence prevention, a call to action. i will yield my time to the gentleman from california, mr. thompson. he has the responsibility to lead us into action, legislatively. once again, the chief, doctor, thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you. for holding today's hearing. thank you for allowing me to help construct sensible gun laws that will help to prevent gun violence. nothing said today is earth
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shattering. nothing said today it is going to take anybody's guns. nothing today is going to threaten hunters or gun collectors. people came for today and called for background checks. i do not know how anyone could be against that. everyone wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. if you do not have background checks, you cannot do it. the whole idea of assault magazines, people coming in with 30 cells in their magazines, even 15, as i have already said, i am a hunter. the federal law restricts the number of shells i can put in my chaconne when -- shotgun when i go duck hunting. no law restricts the number of shells someone can put in an assault magazine. enforcing the existing laws is a no-brainer. enhance a school's security.
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-- enhance school security. it is a call to action. it is time to act. it is time responsible gun owners stand hand-in-hand with the passionate and compassionate congress to make sure we make our streets safe. it is something we can do and the time to act is now. thank you very much. [applause] >> i think it is important to note to our witnesses that the course of the hearing, as you know, scores of members were here. our distinguished majority democrat has been with us the entire time. we air -- we are very honored by your presence. >> if i can say, i have no questions. [laughter]
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i have unbelievable respect and admiration for your courage and insights. thank you very much. [applause] >> this part of the interview on "washington journal" is 15 minutes.
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this is what they write -- do you agree or disagree with how they characterize that? >> you talk about reinstating the assault weapons ban. -- guest: if he talked about reinstating the assault weapons ban or some other effort, we did not find those things would lead to prevent these types of activities from occurring. in terms of background checks and keeping weapons out of the
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hands of criminals and people with serious mental difficulties, we want to do that and we'll take a closer look. we have agreed to look at any arguments that are made with regard to any of the issues. i have a strong record of having defended the second amendment for a long time and a strong respect for the right of private citizens lawfully abiding private citizens to own firearms. there is evidence they are used to help defend -- about half a million a year use of firearms to frighten off intruders from their homes. that is a lot of instances. another study found about 1 million people a year use of firearms to defend themselves from various types of crimes, not just in their homes. the right to own firearms is a well established principle and we're going to defend it. host: 5 house members that got
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the most nra money. your picture is there. guest: gun owners know of my long track record of supporting second amendment rights. they have a tendency to support my efforts to run for office. host: i was wondering about high-capacity magazine rounds. it might have slowed him down in the newtown tragedy where he might not have been able to kill as many children. guest: past shut these have shown the magazine size does that make a difference. we'll be happy to look at additional evidence. we are still not provided with
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all of the information regarding to how this occurred. there are reports there were handguns that were used. we would like to have more information. there are tens of millions of these high-capacity clips and assault weapons. it is important to talk about semi automatic weapons. people think assault weapons is what they see in movies and video games. machine guns are heavily regulated. civilians have to go through a severe licensing requirement to do that. semiautomatic, the bullet is automatically chambered. most handguns are semi-automatic. to attempt to say you'll bend
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them based on how they look -- if you have a folding stock or a flash suppressor that did not affect the lethality of the weapon, that does not draw any distinction. i did not think that is a meaningful well to address the problem. host: executive action on gun control measures by the president. is that appropriate? guest: it will depend on what the executive action is. if the government which has many laws on the books that deal with bad background checks and
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prohibiting access to machine guns is used within the scope of that law to change how the government addresses the problem, that's one thing. if the president plans to expand the authority to act without congressional approval, that exceeds his authority under the second amendment and the constitution and we would be mindful of that and would be taking action. i'm sure the word the the other things like lawsuits and so on. host: you could stop funding -- guest: we certainly would. we do not want to be in a situation where portions that are legal and appropriate are halted because the president accedes his authority.
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if he exceeds his authority, i think the congress will respond. host: let's get our viewers involved. jan in california. caller: i agree with the gentleman that it is and mentally ill. in norway, they had an as burgers illness. there was someone with asperger's illness in norway. his father was the vice president of g.e. he was catatonic when he went to school. my question is this. why don't we start to think about the fact that other countries allow their people to have weapons?
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they think that countries like china and russia that would like to invade us and not have us so powerful in asia, they might come in here -- they're going to come in here with assault weapons. we have two coasts. american people are paranoid because they have the chance to be invaded from two coasts. why the president can have 20 guards around his children while they are in school? why can we put guards in schools so that we protect the children and not try to take weapons away from good people? guest: the caller makes a good point. i would argue mostly local
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governments and state governments and school boards and school administrators should be reviewing the safety of every school in the country. there are hundreds of thousands of school buildings in the united states. the federal government cannot afford to pay for the security when we have debts that are over $12 trillion a year. are the measures they are taking the best they can do? these incidents is in school are very rare. that doesn't mean when they do happen they are not serious tragedies. everybody should take a look at that. with regard to the overall right, to own firearms in this
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country. people own firearms for a wide variety of reasons. as long as they are law abiding and they don't have serious mental disabilities, we should protect that right. host: that caller brought up the new nra ad saying the president's children has a guards when they go to school. was that appropriate? to bring the president's children into this? guest: i did not want to, what anybody does to protect their family members. in this country, one reason people do own firearms is to provide protection for themselves and their families and we should respect that. host: the president will recruit children today at his news conference. children who wrote letters to him after the newtown,
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connecticut shooting. they will be standing behind him when he talks about his proposals. we have a tweet from a viewer. guest: a car is something that you drive on the public roads. that is different from a gun which you may keep privately in your home. cars are not given special protection in the constitution is another difference. we do have a licensing system with very heavy background checks. for conventional firearms, it is a freedom that we protect and that we will continue to do that. in order to make a system like the gentleman referred to work, you would have to have a
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national registration system and that is very controversial and as something that congress is likely to undertake. to register every once firearm in the country. host: because of a civil liberties? guest: right. host: good morning, bob. caller: the nra is one thing. i was a member years ago. i finally had to call them up and tell them not to call them anymore. they were wanting money and i was using the money to give to -- and they were using the money to give to republicans to let them with. since i'm an independent, i didn't like that. they do not care if you become a member. they did not check for that. it is namely republicans that benefit from the nra when it comes to money.
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there should be something to stop people from killing people. maybe it should be everybody has insurance or something like that to have a weapon and let them do the background check. they wouldn't be able to own a gun. that is my comment. thank you. guest: the nra represents more than 4 million people. i assume most of them owned firearms. over 100 million people in the united states own firearms. it is important that organizations that want to protect our civil liberties represent the people they represented. this is a much broader issue. butthe suggestion would entail a licensing system. there are criminal penalties for possessing a firearm when you are a drug user or under mental be disabilities, even
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domestic violence cases. there is a up to 10 year prison sentence if you violate that. anytime somebody misuses a firearm, they face civil liabilities to somebody who may be the victim of that. there are lots of laws that address the liability. >> the conversation on reducing gun violence will continue on "washington journal" tomorrow morning. we are asking viewers to comment on the government's proposals. later in the morning, more calls
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from teachers, parents and students. are they in favor of a police presence in schools? you can see "washington journal" live every morning at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. >> coming up next, patrick leahy blaze at the committee agenda for the new year. then president obama proposal on gun violence. after that, the house democratic committee hold a meeting on how to address a gun violence. >> wednesday, more about protecting gun violence from the conference of mayors. live coverage starts at 12:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span. at 6:30 p.m., talk-show host tavis smiley host a forum on
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poverty. we will bring it to you live also here on c-span. >> why did you write a book about your experience? >> it was an important time in history. i felt that the fdic perspective should be brought their. there have been some other items of the crisis that have not been crisiaccurate. also, currently, for people to understand that there were difficult situations, a different policy options and disagreements, and if we want to prevent this crisis or another crisis from happening again, i felt that the public needed to engage more on financial reform, take a bigger interest in that, and educate themselves better.
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i tried very hard to make the book accessible and have some policy recommendations at the end for people to look at seriously. >> the former head of the federal department insurance corporation should bear on the since thefinancial crisis great depression. sunday at 8:00 p.m. on c-span "q&a." >> the violence against women act will be the first hearing the senate judiciary committee holds in the new congress. committee chairman patrick lady -- patrick leahy host the committee. this is 45 minutes. >> faint you very much. -- thank you very much.
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they were fortunate when they had you down in [indiscernible] i think my alma mater is fortunate to have you here now. you said about making the choice, my wife, myself and others, as i was preparing for the speech, i thought again just have plays a was to make the choice i did on committee assignments. i actually look for to being back here at georgetown to talk about my agenda. i have done this before. also, in the senate judiciary committee, when we come into session, the first meeting in the new congress, there will be three georgetown law center graduates on the senate judiciary committee. myself, senator durbin, who is the majority -- the deputy
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majority leader in the senate, senator sparano -- senator horono from hawaii as well. i enjoy that committed the most of any committee i have served on. every day is like going back to school, something i enjoy it immensely. here at georgetown, i've read about you because what i was taught about the values embodied the constitution, about the rule of law, but also about the majesty of our legal tradition. i tell students that there is a majesty in america's legal traditions. this is where i learned to argue. i also learned to appreciate different sides of complicated issues and then to search for a
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solution. i never imagined then that i would able to work in the area of broad constitutional issues that would come before the senate judiciary committee. in my years there, i think have seen just about every kind of legal or constitutional issue there is. i look for to chairing it again. in that committee, what we do touches the lives of 300 million americans. issues ranging from the freedom of the press to the right to bear arms, we tested and privileged to consider legislation and nominations affecting many of our challenges as well as their fundamental rights and our most basic freedoms. every single lifetime judge, federal judge, goes through that committee. i expect the judiciary committee
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will devote time this spring to work on comprehensive immigration reform. few topics are more fundamental to who we are as a nation than immigration. immigration throughout our history is an ongoing source of renewal of our spirit and their creativity, our vitality. from the young students were brought to this country by their parents seeking a battle -- a better life for themselves, the hard-working men and women who play vital roles supporting our farmers, in evading our technology companies, or creating businesses on their own, all of them, our nation relies on immigrants. we have to find a way through the partisan gridlock to find meaningful change in immigration law and including a path to citizenship.
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get away from partisan symbolism. let's instead of holding the fundamental values of family, of hard work and fairness. so next month, we will begin this national discussion. the full senate judiciary committee will have a public hearing. i will hear a lot of different views on this. i hope, in the end, we can honor those who came before us from distant lands in search of freedom and opportunity. i wonder where in the -- if my grandparents came to vermont from italy, if they would be allowed to become citizens or my great grandparents when it came from ireland to vermont, whether they would have been allowed to become citizens. or marcelles parents when it came to vermont from canada, whether they could have become citizens. you know, we have to remember we all came in our ancestors or
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ourselves from somewhere else. and then, on an issue that is before the nation, and properly so, and i applaud the president for doing this, he is the issue of gun violence. two weeks from today, the senate judiciary committee will begin examining possible remedies for tragedies like last month shootings in a town connecticut. i believe these will be the first congressional hearings since that happened. and the questions we face about our national gun policy extend beyond the tragedy shoes of mass murder. -- the tragedy issues of mass murder. the exposure of children to violence in popular media and similar issues of gun violence.
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i hope it will be a constructive discussion. again, spare me symbolic arguments. let's have a constructive discussion about how better to protect our communities from mass shootings and respecting fundamental rights guaranteed by our supreme court. by many other gun owners, i think we should strengthen our gun laws to combat gun trafficking. we should see -- we should ensure that those seeking to purchase guns do so with real background checks. as president obama has made clear, no single step can end this kind of violence. the fact that we cannot do everything that could help should not paralyze us from doing anything that can help. i am looking forward to reviewing the proposals the president is announcing today.
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of course, the judiciary committee will consider those proposals. it will be one of the first of several hearings on this topic. then we have the question of first responders. i will keep the committees' focus in partnerships on first responders, like the public safety officers benefits act, and life-saving bulletproof vest partnership program. we have recently provided 1 million bulletproof vests to state law enforcement agencies. these are not abstract things. first responders are flesh and blood like each and every one of us. they rented buildings like sandy hook elementary out of a sense of duty, even -- they ran to buildings like sandy took elementary out of a sense of
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duty, even though their lives were in danger. if they had not been there immediately, more children could have died. we count on them. we need to let them count on us. there are some who argue that federal assistance to first responders is somewhat unconstitutional. balderdash. they are wrong. we should stop stalling these important initiatives. in the coming months, we will continue to examine our criminal justice system, promote national standards and oversight for forensic labs and practitioners. we will have improvements that far more effectively identifying convict people guilty of crimes, but avoid the all too common tragedy of convicting the innocent. it you have labs that do not give you right results and you think you can close a case by sending the wrong person to prison, you have done nothing
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for the safety of people. you have won the tragedy of having an innocent person in prison. at the same time, you have loose on the street the person who committed the crime. we all suffer from that. i think we have to also examine the issues related to our high rate of imprisonment during the fiscal issues, with mandatory minimum sentences may need to make sure that we have approaches that produced crime and target violent offenders. i say this as a former prosecutor and as the chairman of the senate judiciary committee. i think our reliance at the state and federal level on the mandatory minimums has been a great mistake. i am not convinced it has lowered crime by having imprisoned people who have -- who should not be there and we
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have wasted money better spent in other things. i think, at the federal level and at the state level, get rid of these mandatory minimum sentences. let judges act as judges on what should be done. the idea that we protect society by one-size-fits-all or the idea that we can do this kind of symbolism to make us safer, it just does not work in the real world. there are too many people, too many young people, too many minorities, too many from the inner city who are serving time in jail for people who might have done the same thing but had the money to stay out and knock their -- and not there.
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in the inner city, buying $100 worth of cocaine, for example, that person could end up going to prison for years. we have some money on wall street buying the same hundred dollars from their local dealer at their car and they may be reprimanded and have to do a week of public service. that is not right. that is not right. in the first -- and the first legislation i plan to move in the congress is the violence against women act. the house judiciary refused to protect some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence and rape. like so many other were the efforts, we suffer from a obstructionism that has seeped too much into our legislative process. each of us know someone of
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domestic or sexual violence. i still have nightmares from some of the domestic violence crimes things i saw as a prosecutor in vermont. today, we try to overcome is unprecedented obstacles to renewing and improving vala. let me tell you the story. the small town in vermont, it is a very safe town, a very quiet town. but five years ago, carmen's estranged husband broke into her home, beat her with a baseball bat. her doctors said that she had suffered the most terrific injury a human being could suffer. he nearly blinded her. today, she is disfigured and still in pain. yet she is courageously sharing her experience to help others.
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stories like commons remind me that every day we do not pass the violence against women act bill comes at a human cost. and i have one message. for those who say that we should not pass it because we included others, week included members of the lgbt community, included native americans come included immigrants there, we should not pass it, i have never seen a police officer at a crime scene say, before we can do anything about this person who has been beaten half to death, we must make sure the person is straight, the person is an american, the person is not in it of american. no, a victim is a victim is a victim. and we should stop setting of standards that say we shall have one standard of law enforcement for one group of victims but not for another. [applause]
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sochaux this will be our first priority this year. -- so this will be our first priority this year. modern-day slavery is shockingly, and around the world and even here in the united states. we could have passed it last year. i hope we can come together and overcome that obstruction. because this is a blight on the world community. it is a blight on the united states. we should be taking steps to stop it. we also have to and the -- to protect the civil liberties of all americans. we will examine the
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constitutional and legal issues implicated by the use of the drones.states use of bronz i am concerned about the increasing use of drones to spy on americans here at home. the technology is cheap, but just because it is available, it does not mean it helps us. i think there could be a significant threat to the privacy and civil liberties of millions of americans. just because we have the technology that allows us to spy on each other, let's not forget we have certain basic constitutional rights as americans. in a fast-changing, technologically changing world, let's not lose sight of the plan that we should follow. it is not a plan of cold or
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written into a computer program. it is a plan that is written in our constitution. and that should be the one thing we follow. we make a tragic mistake. we think that merely giving up more and more of our privacy will make us safer. it will not. security and liberty are both essential in a free society. you cannot forsake one for the other. and then, lastly, i will continue to fight for transparency that keeps the government accountable to the people. few of us agree with everything that is done or spoken in the protection of our first amendment rights or freedoms of the press. but as a son of vermont printers and publishers, you can bet that i have very serious concerns about the press being shut out. of course, oppose the disclosure of government classified information.
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but i think we have to make sure that the legislative efforts to protect or to prevent classified leaks don't infringe upon our fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press. don't over classified things. don't put a classification on everything that you do, including those things where you want to cover your mistakes. this is an open and free country. let's keep it that way. so i will keep pushing on our privacy laws, address the emerging technology and the internet, including the electronic communications privacy act. we have to reauthorize the satellite, tv licenses. we had to make books accessible for those with visual disabilities. we have to create incentives for innovation like chief justice roberts, i believe the extraordinarily high number of
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judicial vacancies has to end. we will continue to work to do that. but those who have blocked judges from coming up for even a vote, i will say this. vote yes or vote no. when you're walking, you are voting maybe. what kind -- when you're blocking, you are voting maybe. what an irresponsible thing to do. vote yes or both know. i enjoyed being a lawyer. i enjoy being a graduate of your school dean. i also enjoy being chairman of the senate judiciary committee. some of my friends i see here in the audience remember me telling this story that, when i first came to the senate, i was told, how believe it was by the then chairman of the judiciary committee, he said, boy, around
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here, it is based on seniority and, boy, you don't have any. yes, sir. i went home and i said to me -- i said to myself, terrible program they have in the u.s. senate, basing things on seniority. we should change that. having studied it for 38 years, i now fully understand it. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much, senator. that was an extraordinary astal. we have time for questions. i would like to start with students. please come forward. we have two microphones on either side. >> they won't be shy, will they?
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>> a good morning, senator. my question surrounds supreme court justices. justice kagan has broken the trend of judges who have first served as judges on the court of appeals. what do you think are the ideal qualifications of a supreme court justice and will we return to a time when the average congressman or governor has a chance to serve on the supreme court? >> i love that question. thank you very much. i have thought about this and spoken about this. i believe we have to get out of the judicial monastery and we have had some wonderful supreme court justices who have served first as circuit judges or elsewhere. but i would like to see them from a broader way.
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i would like to see somebody with more -- those in the judicial monastery -- people who have been out and have other types of experience. when i was a law student here at georgetown, marcel and i were privileged to sit with them. one time, when our honor society was inviting all of the supreme court justices for lunch, we ended up sitting with just as black. some people can agree or disagree with him. he had been a ku klux klan member. he was one of the ones who work for the chief justice. -- for the chief justice to help draft the board of education and ending segregation. he also was a strong defender of the first amendment.
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but he could speak of his own personal experience. of course, we have had many others like that. i have urged president obama in this and other presidents. you can see how much they paid attention to me. but stopped going through the judicial monastery. i want somebody with integrity, with little ability, who was bright and understand the law, but has had a wider variety of experience. you mentioned governors and members of the congress and others. yes, i want broader experience as possible. thank you. >> another question? >> incidentally, i have enjoyed some of the interviews with justice so minor -- justice sotomayor. there is somebody with really
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remarkable experiences. if you have a chance to read her book, get it. i intend to read her book. i listen to her well and i have listened to her stories. let me give you -- i know her well and i have listened to her stories. >> i know that your amendment to the electronics privacy act was passed in november. i was hoping you could talk about what will happen next and what might be perceived and any roadblocks may come up and what else might need to be done to protect our privacy. >> it got through the committee in december, toward the end of the session. we knew it would not go on the floor. but i did want to lay down the marker. it is coming back up again.
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we have so much ability to go on line. we saw the newest thing that facebook came up with yesterday. and we can check back and find things about everything -- about everybody. i am also struck one some day comes up with some outlandish things. i know it's true. i read it on the internet. [laughter] there is the advantage to be able to have your cellphone, to pick it up and call up the information you want, but not to the extent that you give up your own privacy. i worry that people can track who you called and how, what excites you are reading and why -- what sites you are reading and why. i will give you an example.
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nobody questions the fact that, a police agency wants to go into your home, open your files, papers and read through them, they will have to have a search warrant. i question the willingness of having a different view when they can do it from miles away with a keystroke. it will be a fight, but i think people are realizing they don't have to give of their ability to use the internet and everything else while at the same time guarding their freedom. we will bring it back this year. it is one of the things that held my decision. thank you. >> next question. there in the pilot -- the
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violet. >> i was once among the regions at the smithsonian. the photographer says, everybody move a little to their right. he leans over to me and says, easy for me, but not so easy for you. [laughter] >> late last year, you sent a letter to the justice department has never clarification on their position regarding the recent ballot -- recent ballot initiatives in colorado and washington that legalized marijuana and the resulting discrepancy with federal law. i was wondering if you could please talk about what motivated you to write the letter and what you think the correct approach would be. >> i have a real concern for state's rights.
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to the extent we possibly can to determine our own laws. i suppose other states do, too. i'm raising the question with the federal authorities. i am concerned that, just because marijuana is illegal, the possession of it under federal law, that we will just ignore what states do and send law enforcement in there to enforce a federal law even though the state has a different view on it. i would like to have some clarification of that. i also must say, my own could election is that -- my own pre-
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election is that i hate to see a great deal of -- my own predelection is that i hate to see a great deal of law enforcement on the use of marijuana when we have murder cases, our briefcases, things like that it go and salt. let's see what they come up with -- murder cases, robbery cases, things like that that go unsolved. let's see what they come up with. they have more important things to do. >> on immigration reform, most of the the conversation is around the gang of six for the rubio proposal. >> anything that comes up has to go through the judiciary committee.
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the primary immigration will come before us. that is why i am having this major hearing. and everybody who has accused, i want to make sure they are heard -- who has views, i want to make sure they are heard. i want to hear from those who are on the seven border states. president george w. bush wanted comprehensive immigration reform. i told him i strongly support him on that. if we -- we don't face this issue in vermont. we don't have comedians crossing the border -- we don't have canadians crossing the border looking for a better life for better health care.
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but that is not the case everywhere. i am also very worried by some of the things i hear on some of the blogs. there is the xenophobic attitudes -- kick those foreigners out, those who are one or two generations away from being immigrants themselves. that is not what america's about. hi am perfectly willing if it -- i am perfectly willing it is the gang of six were the gang of 12. but we need a gang of 51. i've talked with president obama about this. he is extremely committed. i would like to see a number of other things.
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incidentally, senator durbin deserves every kind of honor and praise for what he has done with the dream act. he will be very important in this. >> good morning, senator. "the washington post" suggested yesterday that you present an obstacle to the passage of gun- control legislation. obviously, you do in a sense. but i am wondering if sort of standard -- the standard practice in congress should yield to what many perceive to be an extremely urgent situation. >> i think it is an urgent situation. that is why the first hearings held by anybody, house or senate, will be by me and my committee in that.
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i wasn't quite sure who they were talking about when they wrote the article, but i will strongly defend the press to write and print what they want, accurate or otherwise. but the fact is -- and i am not suggesting whether this was accurate or not -- but i will point out that i have a track record of getting legislation passed. some will say that nothing will pass. i disagree with that. i am interested in what we can get. i am interested -- i am not interested in those who say nothing can pass. of course not. i am interested in closing the gun sale loopholes. these people have these open gun
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sales, a traveling gunsels and what not, that is a huge loophole. i think we can tie up our background checks. there are a number of things we can do. is there any one solution that would stop what happened in the town connecticut? now -- in newtown? no. about the only gun law we have in vermont is during deer season. you have a semi-automatic, you cannot have more than six rounds in it. to say as a nation that we will be more protected from a deer then we are for children? i think not. [applause] >> anybody else? >> good morning. the plan and introducing the
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juvenile justice and delinquency reduction act? >> depending on the form of it, yes. >> thank you. >> thank you. [laughter] so brief. mean to be i think that a lot of our juvenile justice is done at the state level. i think it is an area that we provide a lot more assistance, and a lot more help. and those who say we cannot afford to do that obviously have not spend time in a juvenile court as i have. not as a -- [laughter] i have to explain that i was
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there as a prosecutor, not as a juvenile because i never got caught. [laughter] oh dear, is this on television? [laughter] >> thank you for being here. i apologize for another question about potential gun control legislation, but given that a lot of talk has been around high-capacity magazines and these military grade weapons that have been used in mass killings, a large amount of killings in the united states are done with weapons purchased illegally. is there any policy you perceive about second-hand market sells? >> the gun salute poll is one that has to be closed. -- begun sale loophole -- the gun sale loophole is one that
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has to be closed. i voted to ban the so-called high penetration bullets. the gun show loophole -- say you have a car and you're going to sell it to me. you have to go through all kinds of registration and pay taxes and other things. transfer one of our cars to one of our sons recently, we had to go to the vehicle the coming transfer and whatever the costs. why somebody should be able to go into a gun show and by any kind of a thing without any kind of a background check that you have otherwise, at least not unenforceable one, i cannot understand that. i really can't.
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i think we should have stricter background checks and they should be real ones. you have restraining orders on you, you should not be able to do that. i am understand every state is different. in vermont, you can carry a loaded and concealed weapon this afternoon. we have one of the lowest crime rates in the country. but not because of that. we are, as a society, we are very law-abiding. but with that stop somebody -- but would that stop somebody who is mentally unhinged from going out and using a gun or a knife and killing people? no. i am interested in the meeting this morning to hear the proposals and they will be
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considered in the judiciary committee. but i am also open to anybody else's. can we pass a law that will stop gun viol? no. we cannot pass a law that will stop all drunk driving accidents. we cannot stop a law that will stop cancer. the fact that we cannot do something with perfection does not mean we shouldn't do anything. there are things we should do. these large magazines, assault weapons, gun show loophole, they have to be addressed. again, in vermont, we restrict the number of rounds you can have in your semi-automatic for deer hunting. i think we should be just as protective of their children as our deaer. >> not strictly a judiciary committee question, but a
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filibuster has recently been discussed as a barrier to passing legislation across the board. with your many years in the senate, a lot of the recent proposals also proposed [indiscernible] i was wondering if you had any reservations about any proposals, any details on how you feel about -- >> i agree with the senators. there will be some significant changes. i felt that way when i first came here. one of my very first assignments was work with senator mondale of minnesota and later vice president to change the filibuster rule. we effectively move from 67 to 60. the filibuster is one thing to protect a minority.
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i happen to disagree with those who filibustered the civil rights laws. but it was a major enough issue in this country that it required the debate to go forward and finally they were past their but when you have one person who calls from the airport and says put a hold on this bill because i am not prepared to vote on it, that is beyond me. get on the floor and do it. so many of the holds and the so- called filibusters are for some of the most the tune nonsensical picyune- the most nonsensical things. they are only in a distinguished way out of their mind. [laughter] this has become ridiculous.
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the best example -- dozens and dozens and dozens of judicial nominees get held up for month after month after month. they have been nominated. they have gone through the senate judiciary committee unanimously. and then they shut down their law practice because they will become a federal judge. then for months and months and months are in limbo because they cannot bring it to a vote. and then when we finally do bring it to a vote, they get 59 votes out of 100 votes. if you're really feel strongly about an issue, come on the floor. our rules allow you to debate it. but on some of these things, most of these things, i don't feel anybody feels that strong about their willingness to stand up and explain to the american public, on c-span, and on the congressional record, here is why i am opposing it because
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usually their reasons do not stand the light of day. thank you. and in case you wonder how i feel about it. [laughter] >> you alluded earlier to your experience and your opinions about mandatory minimums and states' rights on marijuana legislation. a month ago, we had an incident that illuminated the effects of the war on drugs. >> incidentally, eugene is something that my wife and i have known as a teenager. >> i found it to be a powerful film. in your role, do you foresee a day when we will step back from the ledge of the war on drugs?
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>> i felt very strongly about this and have spoken about this a number of times. i think eugene has done a wonderful thing in getting this debate going. there have been articles about eugene directly and what he has done. members of the judiciary committee went down to see it. i think, in some ways, -- and i realize there is somewhat an oversimplification and people will question what i am saying -- in some way, our so-called war on drugs have made some of the same mistakes we have made in our war on terrorism. where you have unnecessary
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checks everywhere on people on various things you have. a 2-year-old child who cannot board a plane, an obvious mistake enemy can do anything about it. and too many people, especially young people, go to prison for a relatively minor thing, a drug offense. and then you ask why they cannot get jobs after? why do they have problems in their lives? i think we have spent tens of billions, hundreds of billions of dollars on this so-called war on drugs. well, we've lost. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> on c-span tonight, president obama talked-about gun violence. then the house democrats meet to discuss ways to prevent gun violence. later, representative bob could let -- bob goodlatte thoughts about his opposition to new gun laws. >> tomorrow, former senators conrad and grade lead a discussion on deficit issues. we will be live starting at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span to. and at 1:00 p.m. eastern, chamber of commerce president thomas downey year -- thomas donahue called for immigration legislation. we will be live from the national press club also on c- span to. -- c-span 2. >> he talked about the dream he had, he talked about for years,
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the american dream. it had been his dream. and he was in detroit a few months before. he talked about -- i have a dream that america will someday realize its principals in the declaration of independence. so i think he is just inspired by that moment. >> sunday, claiborne carson recalls his journey as a civil- rights activist, participating on the 1963 march on washington. it is part of three days of the tv this weekend, monday featuring authors and books on the inauguration. >> president obama officially launched his effort to reduce gun violence wednesday, calling for action in congress and signing 23 executive orders to deal with the issue. speaking before an audience that included the audience -- the
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families of those killed in connecticut, the president called for better background checks and more funding for police and mental health services. this is 25 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president and vice president of the united states. >> please be seated. and thank you. before i begin today, let me say
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to the families of the innocents who were murdered 33 days ago, our heart goes out to you. you show incredible courage, incredible courage being here. the president and i will do everything in our power to honor your memory and your children and your wives and the work we do today. it has been 33 days is the nation's heart with broken by the senseless violence that took place at sandy hook elementary school. 20 beautiful first graders gunned down in a place that is supposed to be their second sanctuary. six members of the staff killed trying to save those children. it has literally been hard for the nation to comprehend. i know for the families who are here that time is not measured in days, but in minutes, in seconds.
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another minute without your daughter, another minute without your son, another minute without your wife or without your mom. i want to thank chris macdonald, who lost his beautiful daughter, grace, and the other parents who i had the chance to speak to for their suggestions, and for their courage of all of you to be here today. i admire the grace and resolve you all are showing. and i must say, i've been deeply affected by your faith as well. the president and i will do everything we can to try to match the result you have demonstrated. no one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented. but we all know we have a moral
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obligation to everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again. as the president knows, i have worked a long time in the u.s. senate having chaired a committee that overlooked these issues of guns and crime, and having drafted the first gun violence legislation -- the last gun violence legislation, i should say. i have no illusions about what we are against or how hard the task is in front of us. but i have also never seen the nation's conscience so shaken by what happened at sandy hook. the world has changed and is demanding action. it is in this context that the president asked me to put together, along with cabinet members, he set of recommendations about how to proceed to meet that obligation that we have.
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and to that end, the cabinet members and i sat down with 229 groups, not just individuals, representatives from two hundred 29 groups from law- enforcement agencies to public health officials to gone officials to public advocacy groups to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders. and i have spoken with members of congress on both sides of the aisle. i had extensive conversations with mayors and governors and county officials. the recommendation that we provided to the president on monday called for executive action. there is legislation he could call for and long term research he could take. it is based on emerging consensus that we heard from all of the groups, including some of you who are the victims of this god awful occurrence. ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands as well as ways to take comprehensive action to prevent violence in the first place. we should do as much as we can and we cannot let it be be the enemy of the good.
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we stand resolve to continue this fight. we met with a young man, calling doddered. -- colin goddard. where are you? he was one of the survivors of the virginia tech massacre. he calls himself one of the lucky seven. he will tell you that he was shot four times on that day. he has three bullets that are still inside him. when i asked him about what he thought we should be doing, he said, i'm not here because of what happened to me. i'm here because what happened to me keeps happening to other people. we have to do something about it. and we will. i promise you, we will.
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this is our intent, we must do what we can now. there's no person who is more committed to acting on its moral obligation that we have than the president of the united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, president barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. it thank you, everybody. please come have a seat. good afternoon, everybody. let me begin by thanking our vice-president, joe biden. and for your dedication, joe, to this issue, and for bringing so many voices to the table. while reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm should not be a divisive one. over the months since the tragedy in newtown we have
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heard from so many, and he not have effective as more than the families of those gorgeous children and their teachers and guardians who were lost. we are grateful to all of you who are taking the time to be here and recognizing that we honor their memories, in part by doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again. we also heard from some unexpected people. in particular, i started getting a lot of letters from kids. four of them are here today. they are representative of some of the messages i got. these are some pretty smart letters from some pretty smart young people.
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inna, a third grader, you can go ahead and wave. that is you. [laughter] she wrote, i feel terrible for the parents who lost their children. i love my country and i want everybody to be happy and safe. and then grant, go ahead and wave. [laughter] grant said, i think there should be some changes. we should learn from what happened at sandy hook. i feel really bad. and then julia said -- julia, where are you? there you go. "i'm not scared for my safety. i'm scared for others. i have four brothers and sisters and i could not bear the thought of losing any of them." these are our kids. this is what they're thinking about. what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to
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care for them and shield them from harm. and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything they are capable of doing it, not just to pursue their own dreams, but to help build this country. this is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. this is how we will be judged. their voices should compel us to change. that is why last month, i asked joe to lead an effort along with members of my cabinet to come up with some concrete steps we can take right now to keep our children safe, to help prevent mass shootings, to reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. we cannot put this off any longer. just last thursday as tv networks were covering one of
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joe's meetings, on this topic, news broke of another school shooting, this one in california. in the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were finally taken from assets and the elementary, more than 900 of our fellow americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun. 900 -- in the past month. and every day we wait that number will keep growing. i am putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the work of joe's task force. in the days ahead, i intend to use whatever way to this office holds to make them a reality. because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent
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every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. i will do my part. as soon as i and finished speaking here, i will sit at that desk and signed a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence. we will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system. we will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency
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preparedness plans. we will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence even as we know is that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator. while year after year, those who oppose even modest gun safety measures have threatened to defunds scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, will direct the centers for disease control to go ahead and study the best way to reduce it. congress should fund research into the fact that violent video gains have on young minds. we don't benefit from ignorance. we don't benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence. these are a few of the 23 executive actions i am
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announcing today but as important as the steps are, they are in no way a substitute for action from members of congress. to make a real and lasting difference, congress must act. congress must act soon. i am calling on congress to pass some very specific proposals right away. first, it is time for congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. [applause] the law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks and over the last 14 years, that has kept 1.5 million of the wrong people for getting their hands on a gun but it is hard to enforce that law when as many as 40% of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.
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that is not safe. that is not smart. is not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. if you want to buy a gun, whether it is from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one. this is common sense. an overwhelming majority of americans agree with us on the need for universal background checks including more than 70% of the national rifle association's members, according to one survey. there's no reason we cannot do this. second it -- congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines. [applause] that type of assault rifle used in core of, when paired with high-capacity magazines has one
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purpose -- to pump out as many bullets as possible as quickly as possible, to do as much damage using bullets often designed to inflict maximum damage. that is what allowed the gunmen in aurora to shoot 70 people -- 70 people -- killing 12 -- in a matter of minutes. weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater. a majority of americans agree with us on this. by the way, so did ronald reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment who wrote to congress in 1994 urging them -- this is ronald reagan speaking -- urging them to listen to the american public and to the law- enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons. [applause]
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finally, congress needs to help rather than endure what enforcement as it does its job. we should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this. since congress has not confirmed the director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms in six years, they should confirm todd jones who has been acting and i will be nominating for the post. [applause] at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce their police force, we should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets. let me be absolutely clear -- like most americans, i believe
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the second amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. i respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen. are millions of responsible law- abiding gun owners in america who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting or sport or protection or collection. i also believe most gun owners agreed that we can respect the second amendment while keeping and irresponsible lawbreaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. i believe most of them agree that if america work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in new town. that is what these reforms are designed to do. they are common-sense measures. they have the support of the majority of the american people. and yet doesn't -- and yet that does not mean this will be easy
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to enact or employment. if it were, we would already have universal background checks. the ban on assault weapons would have never been allowed to expire. more of our fellow americans might still be alive celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduations. this will be difficult. there will be pundits and politicians and special- interest lobbyists public warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty. not because that is true but because they want to jack up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. behind the scenes, they will do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever. the only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says this time must
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be different. this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids. i will put everything i've got into this and so well joe but, i tell you, the only way we can change is if the american people demand it. by the way, that does not just mean from certain parts of the country. we will need voices in those areas and those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and to say this is important. it cannot be just the usual suspects. we have to examine ourselves and our hearts and ask ourselves what is important. this will not happen unless the american people demand it.
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if parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if americans of every background stand up and say enough! we have suffered too much pain and have cared too much about our children to allow this to continue -- then change will come. that is what it will take. in the letter that julia wrote me, she said "i know that laws have to be passed by congress but i beg you to try very hard." [laughter] julia, i will try very hard. she is right. the most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. they need to bring these proposals up for a boat and the
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american people need to make sure that they do. get them on record. ask your member of congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. ask them if they support redoing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high- capacity magazines. if they say no, ask them why not. ask them what is more important -- doing whatever it takes to get an a great from the gun lobby that funds our campaign targeting parents some peace of mind when they dropped a child off for first grade. [applause] this is the land of the free and it always will be. as americans, we are endowed by our creator to certain inalienable rights that no man
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our government can take away from us. we have also long recognized, as our founders recognized, that with rights, responsibilities. along with our freedom to live our lives as we will, comes an obligation for others to do the same. we don't live in isolation. we live in a society. a government by and for end of the people. we are responsible for each other. the right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to sikhs, in oak creek, wisconsin. the right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in oregon and moviegoers in aurora, colorado. the most fundamental set of
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rights to life and liberty and pursuit of happiness, fundamental rights that were denied to college students at virginia tech and high-school students at columbine and elementary school students in newtown and kids on street corners in chicago on too frequent basis to tolerate. all of families who have never imagined that they would lose a loved one to a bullet -- those rights are at stake. we are responsible. when i visited new town last month, i spent some private time with many families who lost children that day. one was the family of grace mcdonnell. her parents are here. grace was 7 years old was she was struck down. just a gorgeous, caring, joyful
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little girl. i am told she loved pink, she loved the beach, she dreamed of becoming a painter. just before i left chris, her father, gave me one of her paintings. i hung it in my private study just off the oval office. every time i look at that painting, i think about grace. i think about the life she lived to end the life that lay ahead of her and most of all, i think about how when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now. for grace. for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give. for the men and women in big cities and small towns of fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. for all the americans who are
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counting on us to keep them safe from harm. let's do the right thing. let's do the right thing for them and for this country that we love so much. thank you. i'm going to sign these orders. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [inaudible conversation]
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[applause] >> his proposals called for background checks for all
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buyers, a ban on high capacity ammunition clips -- these require congressional approval. the president used his authority to enact 23 measures that do not require the backing of lawmakers. the president paz executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, and directing the centers for disease control to research gun violence. >> after president obama announced his new legislation and executive orders, the mayor of philadelphia and family members of gun violence victims spoke to reporters. this is 20 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. i am michael nutter, mayor of philadelphia. i serve presently as the president of the u.s.
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conference of mayors. i am pleased to be joined by an incredible group of americans, many of whom you will hear from. after me, police commissioner kelly from new york will be speaking. we have advocates from a variety of gun safety organizations and most importantly, family members of the victim's of senseless violence in their locales. let me start by saying that on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors and a million and a half people in the philadelphia, i commend president barack obama and vice president biden for the bold vision they have laid out , a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of all americans, but today are in towns like newtown her or philadelphia or new york or los angeles or anywhere else in the united
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states, we need to get behind his plan to ensure that universal background checks are made for every gun purchase here in the united states. that there is a need for an assault weapons ban. as well as in the magazine's of no more than 10 rounds. obviously there is a great need to support funding for mental health services, not cuts. as well as the president laid out putting more officers on the streets of our cities all across america. these are common sense ideas, these are reforms that need to take place. the combination of legislative action by congress as well as the president signing the numerous executive orders today demonstrates his commitment to getting things done now.
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i call on the congress to take up that same sense of urgency on behalf of the american people and especially the safety and security of our children, our most precious resources in this great country. with that, commissioner kelly. >> taking a year. i represent mayor bloomberg along with the criminal justice coordinator of new york city. mayor nutter echoed what the president said. it is common sense. common-sense proposals. the vice president said this is an effort to diminish the possibility. we know we will not eliminate all gun violence, but it diminishes the possibility of having another newtown. mayor bloomberg, who is been a major force in this effort, i know is pleased with this proposal. he urges congress to get on
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board quickly. the president said it is going to be a struggle but i believe all the major law enforcement organizations will support the administration in this effort. this is a good day. we also liked the fact that the president mentioned the possibility of more police officers. many departments throughout the country have been significantly reduced as a result of the financial crisis. so we are hopeful that there is legislation that will significantly help us in manning our posts and staffing our police departments throughout the country. thank you. >> good afternoon. i am the first elected of newtown, the scene of the most horrific event that took place at sandy hook elementary school in which we lost 26 children and staff members.
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i am here to show support for those initiatives late out today by vice president biden and president obama. both of those members said our world has changed because of what happened at sandy hook. par contest as has been raised. we have the obligation to address. if that is so, change will take place. i would hate to find myself a year from now reading about another of that -- another event. i truly believe the will of the people make a difference. i am calling on everyone to have the courage to stand up and help us make that difference. we should never again visit a tragedy such as we had in newtown. i call on everyone of you as mothers and fathers and members of a reasonable society to know
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it is time for us to make a change. please do everything you can to support common sense policies. we need to know that we are the answer to this problem. thank you. thei, i'm president of brady campaign. i come to the issue of gun violence for personal experience. my younger brother was shot on the conservation deck of the empire state building in 1997. we stand here with all this great leaders earlier today it as well as with the other folks you were here from shortly who will have their own personal stories to share. today is a momentous day. it is just the beginning. now is up to us. and that's our message to the american public. you heard it today from president, saying that for a
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change to happen on this issue, the american public will need to make its voice heard. that is the role that we at the brady campaign intends to help play, along with the other great organizations out there convening the voice of the american public. our message would be to every american out there, gun owners, nra members, mothers, fathers, human beings first. we invite you to join those of us like the brady campaign who are committed to making your voice is heard in washington, d.c. the only place where this issue is a heated partisan political debate is in the halls of congress. there is an extraordinary disconnect between what the american public wants, including gun owners and n.r.a. members, and what our elected officials are doing about it. it is up to us to close that disconnect. we invite you to join us to make
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your voice is heard. without that, we are not going to get the change that the task force and the president and vice president were talking about today. they have done their job. they have shown a export their leadership, convening a conversation that led to a consensus and they said the solutions that will not only prevent tragedies like sandy hook but prevent the 10,000 murders that happened every year in our country, the 30,000 gun deaths that happen every year. now it is up to us to join them to make these changes in reality. a momentous day today. just the beginning. now it is up to us. i would like to invite -- i don't know if there is further protocol here. >> i am from chicago. i lost my only child may 10, 2007, on a public transit bus
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coming home from school where five teenagers were shot. i an not just here for him but for the thousands of young people that have been murdered in chicago. i represent their voices and their faces. those are the stories you do not hear about. these are good children, going to school, doing all the right things at the right time to read people need to know that this happens every day in a big cities. we lose talented individuals every day to gun violence. i am honored the president have the courage to stand up today and say something and do something. this day has been coming since may 5 of 2007 and i am grateful we are here. we need the american public to speak up about this issue and speak to legislators to change their minds and hearts. you too can be me. you can lose your only child and i would never want that to happen to you.
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>> hello. i'm sandy phillips. my daughter jessica was killed in aurora. today has been surreal for me. since her death, we have seen so many other shootings and have lost so many other people. it is going to take every single one of you to please take action. one out of three americans are touched by gun violence carried my daughter was touched twice. six weeks before she died, she was in the mall shooting in toronto. i told her at that time austan that she would never again see such a run this occurrence -- that time falsely that she would never again see such an occurrence in six weeks later, she was dead. if you think you will never be touched by gun violence, you are fooling yourself.
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we are prepared to fight this battle to the very end. we ask the american public to please join us, middle america to stand up and be counted. this is the first time that our politicians are caring and listening to us. please do what you need to do enjoy us. -- and join us. thank you. >> my name is colin goddard. i was shot four times at virginia tech. i was one of seven survivors. i chose to do this because i kept seeing the same thing happened to other people. i really want to commend the president for stepping up and showing a much-needed leadership we needed to have a conversation, to have the changes we need in this country so that. he knows we are better than
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this. now it is our job to make our elected officials show us they know it too. thank you. >> let's add, any of us who might be able to answer your questions, we will be glad to take questions. i want to thank all of the speakers and those assembled. these are serious americans who have been touched in one way shape or form. some of us have the responsibility to ensure that our citizens are safe in our cities all across the country. i want to say that president barack obama has shown great leadership, put out bold ideas. it is time for congress to act boldly as well. and are glad to take any questions. >> the republicans on capitol hill are saying the oppose this agenda. senator rubio says nothing the president has proposed would
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have stopped the massacre at sandy hook and the agenda is to take away second amendment rights. how you respond to that and what you think about the political challenges ahead? >> the senator is just wrong. no one is talking bout, including president obama, taking anyone's second amendment rights away. if he had listened to the president's speech, he would know that. there have been no actions by the president that give any validity to that. if the gentleman just want to be opposed for the sake of being opposed and ignore the facts, i generally do not argue with people who engage in that kind of irresponsible behavior. >> there are people out there tried to take a serious look at helping politicians find ways to curb gun violence.
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one of those people is the former baltimore city mayor. he is looking at the atf, saying they have not demonstrated an ability to control the flow of fire arms in our society. do you think they need to be eliminated or reduced? >> i think what the atf needs is a permanent executive director, as the president mentioned. congress for whatever reason has not confirmed it director of the atfb in 6 years. while the same time, the n.r.a. three members of congress, have saw to de-fund or emasculate the atfb by restricting their operations in such ways as to prevent them from doing their dog. -- job. so you cannot underfund an organization and then complain
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they are not doing their job. the issue of atfb is one of funding and leadership and a in those areas, congress cares an enormous amount of this possibility and blame. -- responsibility adn blame. >> he says it has been around for 75 years with a $1 billion budget and they have does not done the work. >> again, i would have to either see what the mayor has said or have a conversation to better understand his point of view. i think we all agree that any of us in government can do a better job at any point in time. all of us have an obligation to do all that we can. if one life is saved, it's good work. it is the right things to do. let's do the right thing. >> it will be tough votes for a
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lot of conservative democrats. why should they put themselves on the line to vote for something like this one there is no evidence the house republicans will move forward. >> i was not in charge of the invite list so i do not know who was in the room and who did not come. it is a free country. i am sure folks were invited. they have the opportunity to do so. i have been in public life for some time. there is no better action than a public serve and then doing right. if you do your job well and serve your constituents, that should be enough. let me finish my answer. saving people's lives, or trying to save people's lives, taking actions that in reality you will never know the life that he saved.
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cannot document that one. but if you do what is right, what is sensible, reasonable, rational regulations put in place to help insure that those who should not have weapons tonight get them. no one has ever been able to explain why a civilian needs a military-style weapons, etc. those members will have to deal with their own conscience and constituents. god forbid they should ever be one of the three people in america that done by this touches, they will have a slightly different perspective. >> the last time congressional democrats took a vote on gun violence, scores of them were voted out of office. >> that was not the only thing going on in 1994. this idea that , somehow that, i did not know about you but i had been in the office -- the idea that somehow one vote, i do not know about you but i have been in the office.
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stand up and do what's right and then let the chips fall where they may. that is the essence of public service. >> part of this comes from the standpoint of the elected officials and a year nutter expressed -- and mayor nutter expressed our perspective. this is going to be an issue where the american people are going to meet to lead. we need to provide the support that shows them it is safe to do the right thing. they know the right thing to do at that the most of these cases where you are hearing vocal opposition. we need to demonstrate that it is safe to do the right thing,
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to support something like universal background checks, that 92% of the american public supports. that includes their constituency. at the same time, we need to hold accountable the elected officials that do not act in our best interest on our behalf. the combination of the bold, moral leadership that mayor nutter described in the voice of the american public in terms of supporting the leaders that do the right thing and holding the ones that do not accountable is going to be the combination that will make the proposal you heard today succeed. >> have you heard from many republicans supporting the proposal? >> i thing the president spoke about an hour ago. i cannot know that any bill has been introduced in the congress. he signed a series of executive orders. why don't we let it live for a little bit. and get into the business of introducing legislation. then allow the legislators to
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do their job, which is to vote. that is what they do for a living. this is not business for the faint of heart. if you do not like making tough decisions, you should do another job. >> what is the next step for this campaign? >> i generally do not give the president advice about what he should be doing on a daily basis but what i expect he will be doing is talking about this, these issues. the president said he was going to do everything he possibly can to make sure that this initiative moves forward. in reference my earlier response, there will need to be legislation. we need to see the executive orders. all of us here and millions of americans across the country will also need to be advocates. the president has already stated very clearly, he is not
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going to be able to do this by himself. anyone with any sense would know that. this is an american issue. we have a violence problem in this country. that is the issue that needs to be addressed. it will be an all out effort. the president has to focus on of course sequestration and budgets and a billion other things i do not know anything about. so it will be a long, hard fight. it is a fight worthy fighting. >> i think putting a corporate information into the system data base will make a difference. we know that it has been woefully lacking information. just that alone will make a
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major difference. >> last question. >> the president talked about it being up to the people. what do you do moving forward in your own community? >> communicating back home in philadelphia what the president has laid out. yesterday i talked about a set of principles, the sandy hook principles we will be following in philadelphia relating to trying to change and influence corporate behavior and business practices. gun manufacturers, and to peters, retailers. this will be a topic of conversation at the u.s. conference of mayors meeting
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which starts tomorrow. mayors from all across the united states will be joining the efforts to move forward. the american people, their constituents. this is a country where people do get to exercise their voice. for those who are opposed, that door swings both ways. i will make sure my citizens have as much information as possible, are communicating on a regular basis. thank you, everybody. >> following president obama's
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announcement, the national rifle released a statement -- it said, in part "we look forward to working with congress on a bipartisan basis to find real solutions to protecting america's most vital asset -- our children. it continues, attacking farms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face. only law-abiding gun owners will be effected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inability of more tragedy." they also released an advertisement referencing the president's children. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? why is skeptical about putting on security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? mr. obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he is just another a leak is a hypocrite when it comes to his fair share of security. protection for hid -- his kids
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and gun free zones for ours. >> the conversation on reducing gun violence will continue on "washington journal" tomorrow morning. we're asking gun owners to collin to comment on president obama's proposals. then a roundtable on possible new gun laws with the brady center and the executive director of gun owners for america. then calls from teachers, parents, and students -- are they in favor of the police presence in schools? you can see "washington journal" lit every morning on c-span. >> connecticut school superintendent janet robinson gave a detailed account of the shooting, describing teachers to through themselves in front of students and assailant with enough ammunition to kill every person in the school. she is testifying before the house democratic policy committee.
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other -- speakers include the mayor of philadelphia, who called on the nra to remove its recent ad with president obama's daughters. this is two hours. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you all very much for joining us on this very solemn and important occasion for the american people. just over one month ago, our nation was shocked and horrified by the news of the shooting at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, conn. 26 children and educators were taken from us at gunpoint. a act of senseless and incomprehensible violence that struck at the heart of our families, schools, communities across the country. earlier this month, shortly after newtown, all members of
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congress took a oath to protect and defend the constitution and the american people. to protect and defend -- that is our first responsibility. today, leaders of the house democratic caucus to come to gather to fulfil that duty to confront the challenge of gun violence in our society and insure the safety and security of our community. under the leadership of congressmen thompson, mike thompson, our gun violence prevention task force keeps growing in number. our colleagues are submitting recommendations for legislation to tax forces working with outside organizations and sharing the latest information on gun violence and steps we can and must take to end it. the efforts of this task force
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and our caucus -- we will hear from people with professional and personal experiences with gun violence and critical expertise on how and why then we must protect -- prevent it. it is an emotional occasion for many here. we thank them for sharing their grief to help other people be safe, sharing their experience to others -- call us on our oath of office. our witnesses hail from every walk of life, education, academia, law enforcement, public service. we are extraordinarily grateful to have with us dr. janet robinson, superintendent of schools of newtown, conn. dr. emily nottingham, daughter of gabriel's zimmerman, who you know as a victim in -- in tucson near the two days ago. scott knight here from minnesota
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to give us the view from middle america and rural areas. and then michael nutter, president of the u.s. conference of mayors, who is been a leader on this issue for a long time. your voices and your contributions are playing a critical role in our effort to take these long overdue actions. we look forward to hearing your ideas and testimony and answering the call to action on gun violence prevention. we are especially pleased to be doing so on a day when our president, as we continue to mourn with the family is, has told us the time for action is now. we must do everything in our power to stop such terrifying violence in the future. we recognize that this challenge -- these challenges are not new, and as president obama said so eloquently in the days following the shooting, we cannot tolerate this any more.
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these tragedies must end, and to end them we must change. today, the president put his proposals on the table. he outlined 23 executive actions his administration is taking right now. he demanded action from congress on establishing universal background checks, restoring the ban on assault weapons, banning high capacity assault magazines, putting more police offices -- officers on our street. we must address issues of mental health and keep weapons out of the hands of those in a danger of doing harm to themselves or others. these common-sense proposals represent steps that we can take and must take right away to put a stop to the violence. as the president said today, this time must be different. we agree -- we cannot permit any time to go by without action. we owe it to the families of the victims in newtown, aurora, oak
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creek, tucson, columbine -- the list goes on almost every day in shootings across our country. i am pleased to turned over to the cochairs of our committee -- congresswoman rosa delauro and congressman rob andrew. we are pleased to be joined by the chair of the judiciary committee, john conyers, and the chair of the violence prevention task force, congressman mike thompson. thank you for your leadership. we're also joined by our distinguished whip, steny hoyer. i'll yield to him for a moment and then to our co-chair. >> i think you very much, madam leader. for scheduling this. obviously critical and very timely hearing -- i look forward to hearing from the witnesses. all of us, as the president indicated in his talk today and
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presentation of his program and signing of executive orders, we all feel the urgency of responding to the dangers that our communities confront. with the distribution of guns in large capacity magazines and the status of our mental health observations, folks what not to have guns, and to make sure we know who is getting weapons of great danger to our community. so i appreciate the witnesses and welcome them. it is obviously an extraordinarily timely hearing. witness the attendance and the interest of the media and the public. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you very much. is a privilege for me to